National badminton coach Pullela Gopichand on Thursday made it clear that injury had nothing to do with top seed Saina Nehwal’s first round exit from the Indian Open Super Series and exuded confidence that the ace shuttler will make a strong comeback in the upcoming Malaysian Open.

“It was just an off day for her, it can happen to anyone. Whatever, she was doing was going the wrong way. She is very disappointed with the loss. She was not moving well on the court. But I don’t think her injury had anything to do with her defeat,” Gopichand told reporters here.

“I think she will come up in a big way in the Malaysian Open,” he insisted after Saina crashed out in the first round of the ongoing India Open after losing 17-21 19-21 to Japan’s Ai Goto on Wednesday.

Saina was struggling to cope up with a right ankle injury ahead of the Indian Open. She will now compete in the Malaysian Open starting May 3 in Alor Setar, Malaysia.

The 2001 All England champion, Gopichand feels the senior shuttlers should have played to their potential but expressed happiness with the performance of the youngsters.

Young guns such as Sourabh Verma and R.M.V. Gurusai Datt have made heads turn with their stunning performance in the tournament, beating top level players to enter the quarterfinals and Gopichand said they have the self belief to play at the highest level.

“I am happy that the youngsters have come up in a big way. The most important thing is that they have got the belief of playing well in the higher bracket. They never looked inferior rather they looked good.

“Though they are still far away to reach the level of some one like Saina or Jwala (Gutta), I think the young brigade have done superbly. The senior should have played to their full potential as this is big tournament,” he said.


Saina Nehwal shocked April 28, 2011

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