Saina Nehwal: 'Was not fully fit in Hong Kong and Macau events'

Saina Nehwal said that her coach Vimal Kumar advised her not to play in Hong Kong and Macau so soon after the surgery but she insisted on taking part in them.

Saina Nehwal said that the next season should be good as she would attain full fitness by then.   -  PTI

Ace shuttler Saina Nehwal, who has been on a comeback trail after undergoing a surgery on her right knee, on Sunday said that she was not fully fit in her last two tournaments but played in them as she wanted to test herself against top players in that physical condition.

Former World No. 1 Saina lost in the quarterfinals in Hong Kong Open Super Series and Macau Open Grand Prix Gold tournaments after her surgery. "I am recovering well, I played two tournaments and reached quarterfinals and that was just the starting. I would say after the rehabilitation, I just played for two-three weeks and I just wanted to test myself how good I am at that stage and although I knew I was not 100 per cent fit, I wanted to come back and play with highest level players," said Saina.

She said that her coach Vimal Kumar advised her not to play in Hong Kong and Macau so soon after the surgery but she insisted on taking part in them. "That's what he was telling me. He was little bit more careful and he was telling me not to play these tournaments. He was like just take your time and recover, come back stronger."

"But I wanted to play because it was a while since I did not play any tournament and I was getting little bored. I just wanted to see how I am playing. I knew somewhere in my heart I (was) not going to win the tournaments, but I wanted to try my best. These were the year-ending tournaments, last two and I thought I would just play, because the next tournament is only in March and there could be a gap," she added.

She said the next season should be good as she would attain full fitness by then. "I was very happy with my performance after coming back from such surgery and playing two quarterfinals with such little fitness. I am happy to beat a couple of world class players in both the tournaments. I need some more time to be fully fit and I am sure the next season will be good, when I come back with full fitness. I am sure with the kind of fitness, I will get back again and performances will start getting better," she added.

"Rehab was really good, I would like to thank Dinshaw Pardiwala who did my surgery really well and would like to thank Heath Matthews who is my physio right now, who is helping me so much with rehab. He is working behind me, giving me fantastic programmes. Because of that I could come back so early, otherwise people can't (even) imagine to come back within 5-6 months after such kind of surgery."

She said the 11-point games which will be played in Premier Badminton League would be an innovative idea. "PBL is a league, we can't compare it with Super Series and big level tournaments. So, the competition will be good, 11 points, it is a different thing, which we have not played."

"It's an innovative idea and I am looking forward to play in it and you will not even know when the game will finish, it's so quick. It is something different and it is always good to try something different. It will be a fun tournament, because it is team event. We are used to playing individual events, so there will be lot of support from the team. It's not going to be easy and it's a different platform. We have some of the best players and I am sure we will do well," she added.

"Everything (including PBL) will only help me improve my fitness and the match practice because I will be playing with top players in all the tournaments. In PBL, Carolina (Marin) of Spain will be there, so it will be a tough competition. All these higher level players will be there, good to get these matches before big events," the Olympic bronze medallist said.

On her partnership with Hauvei and Honor, she said, "Honor company, this if the first time I am seeing companies from private sector coming forward and supporting sports so much. We now have companies like Honor, who are coming forward and supporting the sports.

"The interest in private sector is growing in sports and it's nice to know. Earlier we had such support for cricket, but now we see all the private sector is coming and supporting all sports. In big way, Honor is doing fantastic job and me associating with them, that to a spokesperson and nice to see it's not from cricket".

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