Saina Nehwal needs to get better against deceptive players, felt U. Vimal Kumar, the former chief National coach. In a chat with the Hindu, Vimal Kumar, analysing Saina's shock defeat, said: “After watching her match, I can put down two reasons for her defeat.

She often had problems against players with deceptive strokes like Zhou Mi and it happened again, against Shixian Wang, who can slow down the pace and disguise her strokes pretty well. Secondly, Saina was sluggish and one needs to move much faster under such circumstances, but she was slow. She is at her attacking best in fast game, but that didn't happen here.”

Vimal Kumar, said the defeat can not be construed as a big upset, given the fact that rankings hardly matter to Chinese players. “Wang might be No.13, and Saina is No.2, but given the current format of the game, it is very tough for top players to maintain consistency and in the past four years, upsets have been a very common feature of the modern badminton,” said the coach.

Chinese strength

Vimal Kumar also attributed to Chinese domestic league for their strong showing. “Of late, Chinese players have been playing a domestic league, which has a strong field and which is often better than an international competition. In fact, China was keen on including foreign players in its league. But the World Badminton Federation was against it. But nevertheless, they (China) have made it mandatory for all their top players to play in it.”

Did media hype and overdose of expectations weigh down Saina? Vimal Kumar dismissed such speculations. “When you are World No.2, it is but natural for people to expect a lot from you and the media is bound to hound you, but its all in the game and one needs to cope with it and I think Saina was not under such pressure.”

Vimal Kumar advised Saina to put the defeat behind her and stay on course for the top slot in the game. “She is still our best and has talent and game to reach the top and such defeats can be learning experience and should harden her resolve.”

Keywords: Saina Nehwal

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