Vimal: 'Saina will return to best by January end'

"She is definitely not back to her best and has some way to go before she can aspire to win big tournaments again," said Saina Nehwa's coach Vimal Kumar, "She needs some more time, may be in terms of physical aspects in which she needs to improve."

saina nehwal

Saina Nehwal's (left) coach Vimal Kumar (right) believes the former World No. 1 will return to her best in two months.   -  Sandeep Saxena

Saina Nehwal's coach Vimal Kumar on Thursday said the former World No. 1 will need more time to get back to her best. Saina after returning after a two-month injury layoff, lost in the quarterfinals of the Hong Kong open.

"She is definitely not back to her best and has some way to go before she can aspire to win big tournaments again," said Vimal, "She needs some more time, may be in terms of physical aspects in which she needs to improve."

Saina, however, >reached the quarterfinals of the Macau Open Grand Prix Gold tournament with a 17-21, 21-18, 21-12 win over Indonesia’s Dinar Dyah Ayustine.

'SHE SHOULD BE BACK IN 4-6 WEEKS'

"After this (Macau) there’s nothing for her till end-January — the Syed Modi memorial Grand Prix Gold (in Lucknow). Of course PBL (Premier Badminton League) is there (in the first part of January) in which she will play, being one of the big names. But it lasts two weeks and is not a very high intensity competition," said Vimal.

"In another four-six weeks (she should be back to top level) once she starts high intensity training. She has enough time when she enters that (Modi memorial) competition and if nothing goes wrong, from end-January onwards she will be a strong contender.

"When she comes back (from Macau) we will have to see when she can start high intensity training. I have given all power to the trainer. I have told him to ensure that the leg is good. There’s enough time. She can do good training and come back."

'SHE NEEDS TO GET BETTER PHYSICALLY'

"Physically she needs to get better, but the most important thing is her leg is holding fine. Today also she struggled. They are all steady players, playing long rallies and the shuttles (in Macau) are slow," Vimal said. .

He, however, denied that Saina would've been better had she not competed in the Rio Games.

"She developed this strain, it was the stiffness of the thigh and she felt it four-five days before our departure for the Games. She felt her legs heavy. She consulted doctors and they said it was an inflammation of fat pad covering the bone."

According to Vimal, Saina felt stiffness after the first practice session in Rio and wanted to take pain-killing injections and was even looking forward to reaching the quarter-finals before things turned for the worse.