Saina: 'BWF should increase prize money for Super Series events'

Saina Nehwal has called on the Badminton World Federation (BWF) to increase the prize money on offer at Super Series events. She believes this should be done to prevent top players from choosing private leagues.

Saina stated that players should be consulted before the 11-point, best-of-five games format is used in BWF events.   -  AP

Saina Nehwal has called on the Badminton World Federation (BWF) to increase the prize money on offer at Super Series events. The Indian shuttler believes that this should be done to prevent top players from choosing private leagues - like the ongoing Premier Badminton League (PBL) - over BWF-sanctioned events.

In 2016, elite Super Series Premier tournaments carried a total prize money of USD 700,000 (minimum increment of USD 50,000 in 2017). The singles winners took home USD 52,500. The total prize money on offer at Super Series events - one rung lower than Super Series Premier - is USD 250,000 (minimum increment of USD 25,000 in 2017). The PBL carries a total prize money of USD 10,00,000.

"Private leagues offer more prize money than Super Series events. If you have two leagues like PBL every year, then everyone will play in leagues rather than Super Series. Players enjoy these leagues, they make good money, and it is less strenuous too.

"I request the BWF to increase the prize money for Super Series events. A Super Series winner gets around USD 50,000. It should be more. Players should be financially happy," Saina said.

Saina, who represents Awadhe Warriors in the PBL, added, “A Grand Slam winner in tennis can make INR 21 crore - it is crazy. That’s why a lot of youngsters want to take up tennis.”

The 2012 Olympics bronze medal winner stated that players should be consulted before the 11-point, best-of-five games format is used in BWF events. As it stands now, the BWF has requested its member nations to trial this shortened format.

“If players object to this format being used in BWF tournaments, then it should not be changed from the 21-point, best-of-three games system. You have to consult the players.You have to trial it in one or two tournaments, and not put it into Super Series events immediately.

"The two formats can co-exist. We can have four Grand Slam events - like they do in tennis - which can use 21-points format, while the other events can have 11-points.

Changing all tournaments to 11-points will not be good,” Saina said. “The 11-point game is tough. If a player wins six points, it is tough for the opponent to catch up. Also, the long rallies will be missed. It’s all about taps and smashes,” the 26-year-old explained.

The star shuttler added that she might skip Awadhe’s final group stage encounter, against Chennai Smashers, to be held here on Wednesday.

This means that the much anticipated clash between Saina and P.V. Sindhu may not happen in the Bengaluru-leg. “I will think about resting (on Wednesday). I need to look after my knee, as I have to compete in the Malaysian Open. I will go all-out in the knockout stages of the PBL,” she said.