Saina Nehwal believes that 2010 has been a dream year so far and she played her best badminton at the Hong Kong Open last week to emerge winner.
“Honestly, I was not thinking really big before the Hong Kong Open began. But, eventually I felt really happy that I played consistently right through from the first round till the final,” she said on the sidelines of the Indian Open Grand Prix championship which began at KVBR Stadium here on Tuesday.
The 20-year-old, flanked by chief national coach Pullela Gopi Chand and SAI coach Bhaskar Babu (who was there for the Hong Kong Open), said that winning three Super Series title was highly satisfying this year.
“Yes, the disappointment of Guangzhou Asian Games still haunts me. But that I could that put behind me and come up with a high quality display soon is really a memorable experience,” she said.
Referring to the rankings, Saina felt she would have been definitely happier had she finished the year as the World No. 1. “But, at the same time I reiterate that rankings don't bother me.
“They just follow you depending on how well you perform over a period of time. Right now I think I am going through a dream phase,” said Saina.
Commenting on her next goals, Saina quipped it would be fantastic were she to win the All England, World Championship and the Olympics gold.
“The focus is clearly on the London Olympics. That is the real big target and it will be definitely nice if I come up with a fine performance in the All England next year.
“I have a feeling that I do have an upper-hand whenever I face a Chinese in the final of a major event. Definitely, I am no scared about taking on these Chinese girls,” Saina said.
“If only I play as perfectly as I did in the Hong Kong Open right through, then I have every chance of winning some more big Super Series titles,” she said.
“I must thank Gopi Sir and Bhaskar Sir for their total support and guidance which are really helping me to win these titles,” Saina acknowledged.
Bhaskar Babu said the way his trainee played at Hong Kong she would have beaten anyone. “Such was her all-court mastery. The way she fought back every time she was down was the biggest positive,” he said.
“I am happy to be associated with such a champion player and I am proud that I was there when she won her first major title Philippines Open a few years ago,” he added.
Not an easy task
Gopi Chand felt that winning the Olympic gold was not going to be easy given the fact that the best of the players would be chasing that. “But if Saina continues the awesome form she showed this year, she has very good chances of realising the whole country's dream,” he said.
“I am definitely pleased that Saina is making big strides in the world of badminton ever since she joined my academy (Pullela Gopi Chand Academy here). It is a place where we try to put a system — picking the best features from across the world in terms of training programme — in place for the good of the players,” he added.
Keywords: Saina Nehwal