Taking it one step at a time: Saina

Pressure has eased off, says champ

Taking it one step at a time: Saina

Three titles in the calendar year along with a team bronze medal at the Uber Cup and the Asian Games and the world number four ranking — 2014 had its share of joys for Saina Nehwal, India’s top women’s shuttler.

As the 24-year-old prepares herself to face the best in the world at the BWF Destination Dubai World Super Series Finals in two weeks time, she spoke to Deccan Herald on her game and her training. Excerpts:

On progress made under new coach Vimal Kumar: I had asked everyone to judge my performance under Vimal sir after the China Open, and I believe the results speak for themselves. Winning a Super Series in China is never an easy task and I am happy that I have achieved it. Being a top player, I wanted someone who could help me in improving my game and help me develop into a better player. Being number four is no joke and I wanted someone who could understand the responsibility that comes along with it. I am happy that I found Vimal sir who could understand my concern and help me.

On Vimal’s role in improving her playing style: In the past few months, he has played an immense role in developing my game, especially against the Chinese opponents. We have worked on my minute mistakes and that has helped me in improving my game to a great extent. I hope my performance against the top three — Li Xuerui, Wang Shixian, Wang Yihan — against whom I have struggled in the past, will come off better in the upcoming matches.

On plans for the upcoming season, keeping Olympics in mind: I do not have a long plan in mind. I would want to take one tournament at a time. Though it is the year for Olympics qualification, I am not much concerned about it. I want to work hard and stay fit to face every challenge that is thrown my way.

On the pressure of expectation after coming to Bengaluru: I believe the pressure has eased off. I feel more relaxed now. Back in Hyderabad, there was a lot of unnecessary pressure, but here I have nothing but my practice to worry about. In Hyderabad, there were loads of new players coming up and I was caught in helping them improve their game. I think, in that process my game took a hit. But here, I have no such work and I can have my complete concentration on improving my game.

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