Calcutta: Saina Nehwal, the poster girl of Indian badminton and a bronze medallist in the London Olympics, spoke to The Telegraph from hometown Hyderabad on Sunday afternoon.
The following are excerpts
Her five favourite sportspersons (alphabetically)
USAIN BOLT: Look at the way he has silenced critics! Many had written him off before the Olympics, but he retained all three gold medals. I watched Bolt and his Jamaican teammates win the 4x100 gold early this morning... It truly was an awesome run... I just love his atttude and he has no airs.
ROGER FEDERER: I admire his calmness... I admire the quality of his play... Federer makes tennis look so easy, when no sport is that. I'd really like to meet him... There was a chance in Beijing (2008 Olympics), but that went by...The opportunity didn't arise in London.
MICHAEL PHELPS: When he's in the pool, it seems a fish is swimming! To get 22 Olympic medals is incredible. That's not all, as 18 of them are gold... I doubt if anybody can ever better Phelps. Such dedication is enviable.
The way she has made a comeback after shoulder surgery is nothing short of amazing... Maria's won the French and made the final at the Australian Open this year... I've myself had a shoulder problem, so I know how difficult it gets... I hope I get to meet her somewhere.
SACHIN TENDULKAR: Nobody will achieve what Sachin has... To get 100 hundreds at the international level, to still have the hunger after almost 23 years... I can't even imagine... Come to think of it, I was born four months after he made his India debut!
[After Saina's bronze, Sachin saluted her thus: "Saina's made India proud and will continue to do so... Watching her play, she comes across as totally committed with plenty of talent..."]
On what goes into the making of champions...
Dedication to the chosen sport, lots of hard work... Wanting to win every single match... As important, respecting parents and coaches... I've had great parents and really great coaches. Indeed, I consider myself blessed.
Finally, her take on Yuvraj Singh...
(Somewhat emotionally) Yuvi's an inspiration for everybody, not just sportsmen and sportswomen... To fight cancer and to be on the verge of again playing for the country is such an inspirational story... God has saved Yuvi, but how can one forget his fighting spirit? I'd like to take this opportunity and thank him for always being so supportive in his tweets... It means a lot when a Sachin or a Yuvi has words of encouragement and words of praise.