I am playing my best, says Saina

Saina Nehwal speaks at the press conference in Bangalore on Wednesday.

Saina Nehwal speaks at the press conference in Bangalore on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: — K. Murali Kumar

Special Correspondent

BANGALORE: The junior World badminton champion and World No. 10, Saina Nehwal, feels that she is playing at her best at the moment and there is absolutely no pressure on her as she sets her sights high.

Saina, who has been signed by Herbalife, a health and nutrition product as a ‘Brand Ambassador’ here on Wednesday, said: “I am playing my best game now. Being World No. 10 doesn’t add any pressure and I am enjoying every bit of it and hope to break into the top five.”

Saina, however, said that while becoming a World No. 1 was a big dream, she has not set any time frame on that.

“At the level I am playing, there are a lot more experienced players and who are really good. It is going to be a tough act but I will keep doing my best.”

Training abroad

Saina also discounted the possibility of training abroad. “Personally, I don’t think I can do that. I enjoy training here.

“At Gopi Chand’s academy, I put seven to eight hours of training, which is not possible if I go abroad. We have all the facilities here and some of the best coaches in the world like Prakash Padukone, Vimal Kumar and of course my mentor Gopi Chand.”

“I did have a bit of pressure when I won the Philippines Open last season, following which there were a lot of expectations but I can now handle it. I do a lot of meditation and stay calm,” she said.

Game wise, she felt that everything was in place. “I am confident and perfecting myself in every way,” added Saina.

Asked whether it is the age of youth in badminton, Saina was quick to retort: “We youngsters are much fitter and faster but look at players like Zhang Ning, who have so much experience on their side.”

New points system

On the new points system in vogue in the game, Saina opined that it benefited both senior and junior players alike. “Senior players had the advantage of playing the longer version of the game and so they have the staying power while we the younger lot, with better tactics to suit the system, have been beating them.”

She rated Chinese champion Zhou Mi as her main rival.

Saina said that she now looks forward to the challenges ahead, playing in the All England, Swiss Open and later the World championship at Hyderabad.

“World championship is a big one for me, that too playing at home.

“I had great crowd support when I won the world juniors at Pune and I expect the same kind of backing from Hyderabadis,” said the champion.

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