London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal is keen to finish the year 2012 on a high with a special performance in the BWF Super Series finals in Shenzen (China) from December 12 to 16.
In an exclusive chat with The Hindu before leaving for the event, where she was a finalist last December, the 22-year-old Indian feels that all that she is looking for is one week of consistency and putting in place all the training and planning.
“Well, the last time I entered the Super Series finals, there was that tension of the dire need of coming up with good performance as for me it was preceded by a dismal run in the previous big events. But again, it was the performance in the 2011 Super Series final, which really set me on the road to stardom,” she said.
“Definitely, the pressure is not there now was it was the case earlier when there was a feeling that I should take part in every tournament and look to win. Things have changed for the good and I am in a position to actually choose the events on the advice of Gopi Sir,” Saina said to a query.
“Yes, $ 500,000 BWF Super Series does have its own charm and stature, as it features the top players in the world. And, quite naturally, you have to come up with different game plan to get the better of the opponents,” the ace shuttler said.
Saina insists that no one is unbeatable in contemporary badminton. “It all depends on how well you get things right on the given day. The most demanding aspect is that you have to maintain very high levels of fitness,” she pointed out.
“Honestly, I don’t feel being London Olympics bronze medallist there will be pressure because of expectations. Ultimately, what matter is how well you perform in any event,” said Saina.
“I think I am more confident, if not complacent. Very positive. Much sharper in strokes and better at the net. Yes, I am constantly working on shoring up my defence,” Saina said.
For his part, national coach Gopi Chand points out that it will be a tough Super Series finals given the fact that the top eight in the world will be competing. “But again, there is a sea change in Saina’s attitude towards the game now. The body language says it all. She is definitely a class above the rest. Her strokes are much sharper and more confident,” Gopi explained.
“My perception is that instead of the Olympics bronze medal putting more pressure on Saina, it should only act as a catalyst to help her come up with improved performances in each tournament. She is too good a player to get bogged down by these things. It will be great if she scripts a winning note for this year,” Gopi felt.