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11-point format may put an end to rallies in the game, feels Saina

Jan 11, 2017, Bengaluru, DHNS 1:09 IST
Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal. PTI File Photo.
Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal seemed to be back at her best on Monday night as she rallied to beat Cheung Ngan Yi during a Premier Badminton League (PBL) fixture but she expressed reservations about the new 11-point system.

“It is a tough format to play. I understand it’s good for viewership but because of the pace, it’s just smash-tap, smash-tap. Even singles has become more like a doubles game.”

“I don’t mind playing the format but I feel that rallies will go away and that’s no fun to watch,” said the World No 10.

With the Badminton World Federation (BWF) still mulling the use of the format in international events, the 26-year-old was of the opinon that the players must be consulted first.

“I think BWF must first speak to players and see how they feel. It depends on the players finally and if they object, I don’t think they should go ahead with this.

“They could probably trial the format in a few international events before introducing it in a Superseries,” she said.

Asked whether the 11-point and 21-point formats could co-exist, the Hyderabadi came up with a novel idea. “They definitely can.

“Maybe we can have four big events, like the Grand Slams in tennis, that could employ the 21-point system and the rest could be 11-point.”

With the PBL offering big money and the Badminton Association of India considering a domestic and an Asian league, will the league system be the way of the future? “It looks like the league offers more prize money than a Superseries event so if you have two leagues like this a year, players will probably just play this,” Saina said on a lighter note.

“The money that is up for grabs in a Superseries event is nothing compared to what you can win with a Grand Slam in tennis. Also, the league is less strenuous so players may ponder not playing a Superseries event.

“So I would suggest that the BWF increase the prize money not drastically but an extent so as to attract top players,” she quipped.

No Saina-Sindhu clash?

There could be a massive PV Sindhu-Saina clash on the cards with Awadhe Warriors taking on Chennai Smashers on Wednesday. But with the Warriors already in the semifinals, Saina said she may opt to rest herself in order to be fit for the business end.

“We will have to see what is right for me since I will be playing the Malaysian Open in a week and the knee will need rest. The semifinal is an important clash for us and I need to go all-out then,” she said.

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