India’s champion shuttler Saina Nehwal is pleased that she featured in some big matches in the Thailand and the Indonesian Opens which she won recently before the London Olympics.

“This is what I was really looking for ahead of the Olympics next month. To play in big, tough matches in the Thailand and the Indonesian Opens,” Saina said on her return home after winning the above two tournaments. She was also referring to the quarter-final clash in the Indonesian Open which lasted 105 minutes. “I think it was the longest women’s singles match in badminton history. Well, this was one of the finest matches I played and I am really happy that I could come out a winner,” she said.

“The schedule was very demanding and tiring - playing 10 matches in the space of 14 days. Most of them were late night matches, I mean I was happy the way I recovered after every match and kept on fighting to score the big points,” the World No. 5 said on her recent successful Asian circuit.

“The two wins are really important for they give you the confidence in the preparations ahead of the Olympics. I have to really work harder to come up with another special performance in London,” the star shuttler pointed out. “I am aware that Olympics is different altogether. But, the fact that I had beaten some of the top Chinese shuttlers is equally significant. You know even when they are losing, they don’t give away easy points. They make you work really hard. That is the reason the wins against them are so satisfying,” Saina explained. “This is Olympics time. Everyone is preparing really hard for the big event. Every opponent happens to be very difficult,” she added.

“Well, once I enter the court, I tend to forget the strategies. For you have to play to your best and keep changing your game in the given situation. Definitely, it is good to enter a big event well-prepared. But, it doesn’t mean you are going to win it easily,” Saina explained to a query.

“Definitely, the win against Li Xuerui in the Indonesian Open final was very satisfying given the fact that she won so many titles this year including the All England champion. It was a great match by any means,” the champion pointed out.

Saina reiterated that she feels more comfortable playing in the Indonesian Open than anywhere else. “I love the crowds and the ambience there. Somehow, I feel like a champion. It was great to see them cheer me even when I am playing an Indonesian,” says the smiling champion.

The premier women’s shuttler from India insisted that rankings don’t matter to her at all. “It is important to keep winning. I don’t feel the pressure of expectations even after these two wins. Honestly, I play for myself and then think of anything else. So, I just want to enjoy every game and hope to have a good run over a week in Olympics,” Saina commented.

Referring to her loss of weight, Saina remarked that it was one of the experiments made before the Olympics. “Yes, a very good diet is ensuring that I am saving lot of energy for the big matches. And, I feel that my match-fitness level is at its peak now,” the ace shuttler concluded even as horde of fans at the Gopi Academy mobbed her for a snap or an autograph.

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