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Monday, Sep 23, 2019

Saina Nehwal smashes Carolina Marin on ‘world No. 1’ comment

Saina Nehwal and Carolina Marin have both slipped from their world number 1 badminton ranking. Both players are in action at the India Open Superseries in New Delhi

other-sports Updated: Mar 30, 2017 15:12 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Saina Nehwal and Carolina Marin at a press conference in New Delhi recently.
Saina Nehwal and Carolina Marin at a press conference in New Delhi recently. (PTI)

Saina Nehwal and Carolina Marin are focusing on their performances to reclaim their glorious standing in world badminton. The former world No. 1s are playing in the India Open Superseries under way in Delhi.

Saina Nehwal (currently world No. 8) and top seed Carolina Marin (world No. 4) have won their India Open matches rather easily, but the route to the top of the world will be quite tough.

In an interview to HT, Marin had said that she “would not let Saina reach the world No. 1 ranking again.” The Indian champion has fended off that flicked that dig like a fine drop at the net.

“For me, the only point is to win tournaments, becoming world number one is not I am thinking about,” said Saina.

When I was ranked 30 I focused on winning tournaments. So if she (Carolina) doesn’t let me be the world number one, let’s see if she becomes world number one. So winning tournaments gives me more satisfaction,” Saina added.

The London Olympics bronze medallist has set a secret goal for herself and hoped to stay injury-free to realise it.

“I 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,” Saina said.

“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.”

On Wednesday, Saina Nehwal beat Chinese Taipei’s Chia Hsin Lee 21-10 21-17 to make a positive start in the India Open.

Talking about the match, Saina said: “First 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,” she said.

On clash with PV Sindhu

Asked about a likely clash with Rio Games silver medallist PV Sindhu in the quarterfinals, Saina 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.”

Saina said fitness and execution is all that matters. “Experience hardly matters. I hardly lost to Tine Baun when she was playing. It’s all about fitness and how you execute your shots,” she said.

“I have won so many Indonesia Open titles but I can’t just go on and win it again. It is all about fitness.”

Talking about her rehabilitation, Saina 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)

First Published: Mar 30, 2017 13:22 IST