At 19, Saina Nehwal is not conscious about fashion. But she surely knows which colours to wear and how. And, for this, she didn’t need any designers on board. Sporting orange, white and green hair clips, Saina made a patriotic style statement as she went on to become the first Indian to win a Super Series title.
In a striking contrast to this is the image of her anagram-cousin and tennis ace Sania Mirza, who faced the wrath of the nation for being disrespectful towards the national flag more than a year ago. Images of Sania putting her feet towards the flag while watching Rohan Bopanna’s match at Hopman Cup in Australia, were flashed all over newspapers and TV channels. That both are from Hyderabad is a mere co-incidence.
Saina, who seldom expresses herself publicly, couldn’t hold back after winning the Indonesian Open. “I’m never so emotional, but was somehow taken away by the moment in this match,” said Saina, before leaving for the Malaysian Open. “I was taken aback a bit when I lost the first set,” adds the shuttler, who rallied from behind to win the thriller. No wonder she “went numb” after winning. And as every Indian basks in the glory of this feat, few would be happier than her coach Pulela Gopichand, who says, “the responsibility to be at the top would be more now”.
Commenting on her daughter’s tricolour accessory, Saina’s mother Usha Nehwal says, “She’s not fashion conscious at all, but these things keep going on in her mind.” Dr Harvir Singh, Saina’s dad, says, “She hardly has any casual clothes other than her sporting gear.” And a google search proves it. At a time when her fellow Hyderabadi’s uber glamourous pictures throng the netosphere, Saina can only be seen wielding her racket.
So is there a beeline of sponsors and advertisers after the victory? “Not yet, at least I haven’t been contacted,” says Dr Singh. “If health products or anything similar comes by, Saina may give it a thought. Else, no glamourous stuff for her,” asserts the father.
Post the win, the badminton ace couldn't party in Indonesia as her teammates had already left. “Nobody thought that she'd win the finals,” says Dr Singh. But any plans back home? “Well, nothing as such,” says Usha. “But I do plan to play pakda-pakdi with her.” The kheer-mithai will of course be there.