Saina: ‘I want time to be fresh for tournaments’

The shuttler wishes to skip the upcoming Asia Team Championship in what she calls a “killing calendar.”

Saina Nehwal reached the final of the Indonesia Open last week. Photo: Getty Images

Saina Nehwal has voiced her disapproval of a “killing” badminton calendar in the year ahead, saying she needs more time to rest and prepare for big-ticket events.

Saina had written to Badminton Association of India (BAI) to allow her to withdraw from the Asia Team Championship, to be played from February 6 to 11 at Alor Setar, Malaysia. Playing the tourney will make it the third successive week of action for Saina, who is currently playing the India Open following the Indonesia Open.

Saina wishes to have time to train for the All England Championship, scheduled for March.

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“It is not about training, it is about giving time to my body. It is tough, it is a killing sport. It looks easy from outside that we are playing strokes. I don’t want to just play. I want time to be fresh for tournaments,” said Saina, who had reached the finals of All England in 2015.

‘Not easy to take’

“I know people want me to play and want me to be there but what is the point when people say ‘Saina lost’ and ‘Saina is out of form’. Then I have to face it, nobody else. It is a funny thing but I feel bad. I cry sometime because it is not easy to take. It is not easy for people to understand what we go through. I am not 20 any more, I have to keep myself fit to be able to play for long and you see the calendar, it is a killing calendar and we don’t know when and how many tournaments we will play and what happens next,” Saina said.

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The ATC is a qualifier for the Uber Cup Final to be held at Bangkok in May and BAI wants Saina to play to enhance India’s chance of making the prestigious event. “You have to understand that I still need time. It is not that I haven’t played for India. I have played enough Uber Cup and every time I played I have won all my matches,” said Saina after reaching the second round here.

“I have planned in such a way that I give good result in team events and big events. So I am mostly looking at Commonwealth Games and Asian Games; those are two targets for me. I want to challenge myself. Sometimes I play stupid strokes and I have to be smarter and I don’t just want to play. I know if I am fit, I can win,” she added.

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