She has just won the prestigious Australian Open Super Series. Close on the heels of that achievement, India’s star badminton player, Saina Nehwal, has also been featured in a list of India’s Sexiest Women (2014) published by a lifestyle magazine. Here, the 24-year-old opens up about this new tag, and also talks about a reported biopic on her life.
Do you identify with the ‘sexy’ tag that’s now being associated with you?
I am happy. It is a God-given gift (smiles). I am thankful to all the fans [who voted for me]. Although I don’t know what they found appealing in me (laughs). It’s good for badminton; the game will be promoted. But I feel sportspersons don’t require these things.
Read: When I am playing well, no one's tough to handle: Saina Nehwal
Who do you consider the sexiest in Bollywood?
That’s a very difficult question. I think Shah Rukh Khan is the smartest and the sexiest actor [in Bollywood].
There has been a lot of talk about film-maker Mahesh Bhatt planning a biopic on your life. Have you heard about this?
I don’t know anything about it. And I have no idea who has initiated it (the process of making the biopic).
How important was the Australian Open win for you?
It was really important. Since I’ve had no major win in the last 20 months, I needed this one to stay among the top 10 badminton players in the world.
Your global ranking has also improved now; you’ve moved up one position to the seventh place. Are you satisfied?
I have been on the second place three times, so the seventh spot is still very low; how can I be happy? But it is a consolation from the ninth position.
Earlier this year, in an interview, you said that after you lost a match in Singapore, you broke down and asked your mother whether you’d ever win again?
I did that out of frustration, yes (smiles). I really wanted to win and I lost to a lower ranked player (Eriko Hirose of Japan), who I had defeated in the past.
You also called the last two years (when you didn’t win any super series title) “painful”.
I am a badminton player, and not winning means my performance is not good enough. For any player, winning is very necessary.
Were the back-to-back injuries you suffered responsible for the losses?
The injuries did distract me from my goal for some time, and my movement was slow.
What’s your next target? Do you plan on taking a break?
Right now, I am practising, as usual. I will play as and when the opportunities present themselves. I am still waiting for the blisters on my leg [from the recent match] to heal.
Many celebrities, including Amitabh Bachchan, congratulated you on your victory in Australia.
I feel very encouraged since these are the top-most names in the country…so it (the win) becomes even more special.