PV Sindhu on friendship with Saina Nehwal: ‘Like hi and bye types, that’s it’ | other sports | Hindustan Times
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PV Sindhu on friendship with Saina Nehwal: ‘Like hi and bye types, that’s it’

PV Sindhu has said she plays together with Saina Nehwal but does not get time to be interactive and talk to her during badminton training sessions.

other sports Updated: Dec 30, 2017 13:20 IST
Sandip Sikdar
PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal’s rivalry is a common debating topic among badminton aficionados.
PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal’s rivalry is a common debating topic among badminton aficionados.(HT Photo)

“We’re friends; like “Hi”, “Bye”... and that’s it,” said ace shuttler P V Sindhu, describing her relationship with Saina Nehwal. “There’s no real time to sit and talk,” she added.

The rivalry between the two has been grist for the gossip mill, although neither player has talked much of it.

In an interview with Hindustan Times, Sindhu admitted that there was rivalry, but added that it was not a “big issue” and that people often mistook the aggression players showed during a match as rivalry.

“The rivalry (with Saina) is always there. When you play, you want to win and both (of us) have the aggression to win,” said the World No. 3. “But rivalry is good in a way; it is just a fight in the match.”

Since Saina, now 27, left childhood mentor Pullela Gopichand to train under Olympian U Vimal Kumar in September 2014, Sindhu has been slowly eclipsing her as India’s top badminton star.

The silver medals Sindhu earned at the 2016 Rio Games and the 2017 World Championship helped her snatch the limelight that had been Saina’s for almost eight years.

After a three-year stint with Kumar, under whose watch Saina reached the 2015 World Championship final, the 10-time Superseries winner made a surprise return to Gopichand’s academy in September this year.

The two superstars now train under the same roof in Hyderabad. “We play together during practice but there’s not much time to get interactive and talk to each other because we have our training sessions,” said Sindhu, 22.

When it comes to on-court competition, the duo have a 1-1 record in official Badminton World Federation (BWF) meetings this year. The first time the two met was in 2014 when Saina eased past Sindhu in two games.

Things were slightly different in 2017. Sindhu won at the India Open Superseries in New Delhi. But Saina regained the form she lost in 2016 and came out with her best to defeat Sindhu in the final of the National Championships in Nagpur to rekindle their rivalry.

Come 2018, their competition will be something to look forward to, and bodes well for Indian badminton.