Saina Nehwal’s Winning Reply to Marin’s World Number One Jibe

Saina Nehwal said that winning tournaments is more satisfying than bagging the world number one ranking.

Former world number one, Saina Nehwal said on Thursday that she isn’t worried about regaining the numero uno status. Winning tournaments is "more satisfying," the Indian badminton ace told PTI.

Saina NehwalI have already been world number one. It is not what I am thinking about. I only want to win tournaments. When I was world number 30, I won tournaments. At the moment Tai Tzu is number one. For me, winning tournaments is more satisfying than being world number one.

The current world number four, Carolina Marin, told Hindustan Times on Monday that she will not allow Nehwal to reach the world number one ranking, because she wants to be on top.

While Nehwal’s statement clears the way for Marin to work her way up the rankings, the London Olympics bronze medallist has other plans.

Saina NehwalI have already come out of big injuries in my career. This is another tough situation. I have set a goal for myself. I am fighting it out to see that I realise that goal. That goal is secret. (smiling). I just hope that I stay injury-free. That’s the only thing I hope for. If the goal I have set, if it’s accomplished, I will throw a party.

The shuttler from Hyderabad on Wednesday beat Chinese Taipei's Chia Hsin Lee 21-10, 21-17 to make a positive start in the Indian Open.

Saina NehwalFirst game was good. Second game I gave away seven points. My fault. Score could have been 10 and 10. Got a little bit nervous, I don’t know why. This girl is tricky because she is a doubles player. They play quickly at the net. I couldn’t play my natural rally game as she didn’t allow me to. She wanted to finish points quickly. When I engaged her in the rallies, she found it difficult. I was anxious to finish the game. That’s a mistake I made.

"I didn't expect to win so easily. Movement wise I'm good. Knee is feeling good. All these matches build your confidence and help you prepare for crucial points against tougher opposition," Nehwal said.

Asked about a likely clash with Rio Games silver medallist PV Sindhu in the quarterfinals, Nehwal said:

Well, let’s see. The girl I am playing next, she is a good player. Played against her in the Malaysia finals. Of course Sindhu is playing extremely well. That’s why she played in the Olympic finals in Rio. Carolina, Ratchanok, Tai Tzu, are all top 10 players. Only thing with me is that I lost my form because of surgery. I want to play more matches to get the confidence back.

Fitness and execution is all that matters, Nehwal said. “Experience hardly matters. I hardly lost to Tine Baun when she was playing. It’s all about fitness and how you execute your shots. I have won so many Indonesia Open titles but I can’t just go on and win it again. It is all about fitness,” she said.

Talking about her rehabilitation, she said:

I have to lose weight as it would help my knee. I have lost say 4/5 kilos. I have to lose another two kilos. I have to keep strengthening my muscles. I had spoken to Heath Matthews and he told me there were few little things which I should have taken care of. I guess I made a few mistakes.

(With inputs from PTI)

Join The Quint on WhatsApp. Type “JOIN” and send to 9910181818.