India’s national coach Pullela Gopi Chand feels that Saina Nehwal’s win over Lie Xuerui in the final of the Indonesian Open in Jakarta on Sunday is one of the finest matches he had ever seen. “It was a high quality display by all means from Saina. Hats off to her,” he exclaimed.
“I mean the way she fought back from seemingly losing positions in both the quarterfinal and the final was truly fantastic,” Gopi said in an exclusive chat with The Hindu from Jakarta, after Saina clinched her third Indonesian Open title in four years.
“What really impressed me was the way she fought back from difficult times, controlled her emotions under pressure and most importantly ensured that her game did not wither away,” the former All England champion remarked.
“By all means the confidence of Saina Nehwal will be on a high in the 2012 London Olympics. She will be a much better player amidst the back of her third Indonesian Open title. Mind you, this always remains as one of the toughest events,” Gopi explained. “One of the high-points of Saina’s impressive showing is her consistency over a period of time,” he added.
“But again, I still believe that Olympic is a different ball game altogether. Whether you win here or lose it doesn’t make a big difference. In London Games you have to be at your best and just cannot bank on your performances in the Asian circuit. Only in terms of confidence, Saina should be better off to be a much positive frame of mind,” he explained.
“Well, definitely, everything went according to our plan on this Asian trip. I am really pleased with not just Saina’s performance. If you look at even Kashyap (semifinalist in the Indonesian Open), it was amazing,” Gopi pointed out.
“Given the backdrop of this Asian circuit performance by the Indian shuttlers, I am confident of a much better performance than many expected,” the national coach remarked.