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Updated: September 20, 2009 15:23 IST

Saina back to full fitness after much-needed break

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Saina Nehwal is raring to go after being out of action for a month. File Photo: Nagara Gopal
The Hindu Saina Nehwal is raring to go after being out of action for a month. File Photo: Nagara Gopal

Gearing up for her return after a month-long break, ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal said she has regained full fitness and would be at the top of her game during next week’s Japan Open Super Series.

Saina was down with chicken pox just before the World Badminton Championship last month but the Hyderabadi battled on to become the first Indian to reach the quarterfinal of the blue-ribbon event.

Having regained her full fitness, the world number seven will now return to the court next week in the Japan Open Super Series starting September 22 and the 19-year-old said she is ready for the challenge.

“I needed a break to be on top of my game and fitness after chicken pox. So, this break has helped refresh me,” Saina told PTI.

“It is a tough draw. I am in the second half and there are players like Pi Hongyan and Tine Russmussen. So, it is difficult but I am not bothered. At the moment, it’s just the first match and I am well prepared for the challenge.”

Saina will open her campaign against world number 10 Yanjiao Jiang and Beijing Olympics quarter-finalist said it wouldn’t be an easy match.

“I am playing the world number 10 and I have played her twice and the last time was in the Asian Championship. I lost in three sets. But I am prepared this time and will give her a good fight,” she said.

Saina couldn’t participate in the ongoing China Masters after missing the deadline for sending the entries which resulted in a mild slump in her world rankings but the Indonesian Super Series winner said she is not thinking about her rankings right now.

“I know I couldn’t play the China Open and my rankings went down because of that. It is a concern but I am not thinking about rankings,” she said.

Saina needs to be within the top-eight to qualify for the all-important World Super Series Masters final in December and the Indian said she was confident of making the cut.

“The World Super Series Masters is too far away at the moment. After the Japan Open, I am playing four Super Series events this year—Denmark, France, Hong Kong and China and I know if can win the Indonesian Open, I can win these Super Series too, which will again raise my rankings,” she said.

Asked if she would be jittery when she takes the court after being out of action for a month, Saina conceded she might have to tackle a bit of nervousness initially.

“After a break you tend to get a little jittery and nervous at the start but after two points things come back to normal. So it’s ok. I think I have played enough international tournaments to deal with it and it is not a problem,” she said

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