Saina Nehwal, who created history by reaching the pinnacle of world badminton rankings, on Saturday said she had contemplated "quitting badminton" after last year's World Championships.
Saina reaffirmed her status as the country's most consistent performer in the international circuit by becoming the first Indian woman shuttler to attain the number one spot in the world rankings.
"I have taken some many hard decisions to get here. I kept losing to the top players all the time. In fact, after last year's World Championships, I even thought of quitting badminton. It was a very dark time in my career. People were saying 'Saina your career is finished'," Saina said.
She added, "I then moved to Bangalore and my coach Vimal Kumar set a target of May this year to reach the number one rank. I did it in March itself!"
The badminton ace described her feat as an "unbelievable" achievement and vowed to work hard to be more consistent and maintain her numero uno status.
"It's not that I was really looking up to it but I am very happy today (Saturday). It's something which is still unbelievable that I am the World No. 1. When I will see myself there in the rankings chart, I can believe it," Saina said, when asked for her reaction.
"It's a big achievement which every player dreams of. We saw Li Xuerui there for almost one-and-a-half years and now there will be a change in the name. I think it's all because of the performance I am showing.
"It is the result of hard work over the years. Last time I became the World No. 2 was five years back. I had a lot of good performances in between, stayed at top 5 for sometimes. I think I can enjoy a bit of the new status today (Saturday)," said Saina, who beat Yui Hashimoto 21-15, 21-11 to reach the finals of the India Superseries.
Saina said she feels very lucky to achieve what was her mom's dream.
"When I joined the sport, I never thought of becoming the World No. 1. It was only my mom's dream. But after achieving it, I am really very happy. And I feel lucky to become the first woman shuttler to be No. 1 after Prakash Sir, who is a legend. I will rate this after the Olympic medal," she said.