India’s ace woman shuttler and World No. 4 Saina Nehwal says she is more relaxed now and that is one of the reasons for her impressive performance in the BWF World Super Series where she lost in the final last week.

“In 2011, I had seen lots of ups and downs. But importantly, the confidence is back after the World Super Series in China and I am really pleased with the fitness levels too. We did try a few things before the World Super Series to be more focussed and at the same time in a far more relaxed mood. And, they worked really well,” Saina said looking back at the year that has gone by, in which she entered three Super Series finals also.

“Well, in terms of titles, it was disappointing having won only one Super Series title but I got really bogged down early this year because of the ankle injury,” the champion shuttler from Hyderabad said on the sidelines of a promotional event for Herbal Life with which she signed a fresh contract.

“Now, I am not feeling the heat because of the injury anymore. I am really moving around on the court with great comfort now. That is one of the biggest positives,” she added.

“It is important that the focus shifts to rankings and the higher you are ranked the easier the draw may be in the Olympics. And, we are most likely to have a two-week training schedule ahead of London Games. I am optimistic of improving with each event,” the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist said, as she was leaving for the Korean and the Malaysian Open events starting next week. “I always take pride in winning medals for the country,” she said to a query.

Referring to the Union government’s decision to consider even sportspersons for the prestigious Bharat Ratna award, Saina felt it was a positive development. “I don’t see anything wrong if Sachin (Tendulkar) gets it. The important outcome is that the athletes are also now in the reckoning,” she remarked.

Keywords: Saina Nehwal