Saina Nehwal, India’s best medal hope in the World badminton championship to be held in Guangzhou in China from August 5, doesn’t attach much significance to the easy draw she has got in the meet.
“Regardless of the draw, I am always nervous at the start of any event. What matters is how well you perform on the given day.
“This has been my firm belief over the years. But you need a good start to get the momentum going,” said Saina.
“Moreover, at this level, anyone can spring a surprise. You can’t say this player is easy to face or that one is difficult. Reputations and rankings don’t matter once you are on the court,” the 23-year-old Saina told The Hindu before leaving for the World championship.
“I do not see the coming World championships as the biggest challenge since I have won an Olympic medal and many Super Series tournaments. But yes, a special performance here does mean a lot for any player,” she said.
“And it cannot be presumed that this is the best chance for me to win the World title since there are so many factors involved.”
Asked about the pressure factor, she said: “It is the Chinese players who will feel the pressure since they will be playing at home. I don’t feel any extra pressure at the prospect of taking them on in front of their home crowds,” said Saina.
On the areas of focus during training, she said: “The main objective is to be a complete player with Gopi sir working in that direction. The World title is another dream I am chasing right now,” said Saina.
She also felt that this World Championship was not just about Saina as far as the Indian challenge was concerned.
“There are others like Sindhu, Kashyap and Ajay Jayaram who can spring surprises. This is what I believe is a major plus for Indian badminton as we have players with the ability to make a huge impact on their day,” she said.
Chief national coach P. Gopi Chand too felt that it was always important to take it match by match in any tournament.
“You have to improve with each match and in quick time to be a winner.
“Fortunately, Saina has this amazing characteristic and that is why I am optimistic of a good performance this time around.
I am also pleased that the focus will be on other Indians too like Sindhu, Kashyap and Jayaram. This makes the Indian contingent a force to reckon with,” said Gopi Chand.