Saina Nehwal geared up for All-England Championship

"I am aware that when you are up against someone like Tai Tzu (World No. 1) in the very first round of All England, you have to be at your best and very, very fit to be in with a chance,” Saina said.

Saina Nehwal (right) says she is much faster and physically stronger after switching base post her bronze-medal winning effort at the 2017 World Championship.   -  V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

A philosophical Saina Nehwal believes in destiny! Well, the 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist says she has put in a lot of hard work to be match-fit for the prestigious All-England Championship slated for next week and hopes to see that everything falls in place.

“I look at it this way. There is no doubt you have to fight for every round and for five days successfully to win a title. Still, if it is in the destiny that you will win the All-England title, it will happen,” she said smilingly after a gruelling training session under the watchful eyes of chief national coach P. Gopi Chand at his academy here on Monday.

The 27-year-old champion shuttler is happy with the improved on-court movements. “But again, you never know what is going to happen until you play a match. And, I am aware that when you are up against someone like Tai Tzu (World No. 1) in the very first round of All England, you have to be at your best and very, very fit to be in with a chance,” she explained.

“All I can is that I will give off my best after a very satisfying rehab programme to strengthen my legs. I have done those tough rallies with the boys and am pretty pleased with the way things are going,” she said.

READ: Sindhu, Saina and Srikanth spearhead Indian charge at CWG

Biggest change

Saina, who rejoined Gopi after 2017’s World Championship bronze-medal performance, says the biggest change is she is much faster, physically stronger now, thanks to Gopi sir.

“To be honest, I am sure that once I am fit, I need not worry too much about the game as I can pick up those difficult strokes and be ready to face even Tai, who is known to play the shots at the last minute from the baseline too,” Saina said.

“What is important is how well you respond to the given situation,” she said. “This is largely because Gopi sir. He suggested to get the correct way of transfer of body weight. The fat percentage is down. He is happy with my overall progress, including diet and recovery. And all that a coach can do, he has done. We tried our best in the last five months,” the 2015 All England championship finalist said.

Saina also believes that the new service rule should not be a problem for her, but felt that they could have experimented it earlier at the Indonesia Open itself than the prestigious All England championship.

On the proposed new 11-point game format, Saina feels the 21-point format has its own beauty because of the long rallies which will not be the case with 11-point format as the latter will be very quick.

ALSO READ: H. S. Prannoy credits Saina, P. V. Sindhu for change in mindset

Killing calendar

“But the bigger problem is the back-to-back scheduling. It is a killing calendar. This is mentally much more tougher as one has to be fresh for the huge challenges very quickly. It has to come naturally, you cannot do it consciously. It is a sport and not an exam where you can go prepared,” feels Saina.

The ace shuttler feels that the competition in men’s section is much tougher as all the top 50 look good, whereas in women’s singles, it is confined to the top 12. “That is why, you don’t see any one player winning Super Series titles consistently. Tai is an exception for sure here. It is not the same with Chen Long,” she said.

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