'Title will boost confidence'

'Title will boost confidence'
Indian ace Saina Nehwal returned to winning ways with an impressive triumph at the Malaysia Masters on Sunday. A constant source of support for Saina has come from her coach U Vimal Kumar, who was restrained in his delight at the success of his ward.

“This win is a good boost to her confidence going forward from here on. It was a Grand Prix Gold level event with most players ranked below her,” said the former national coach. Despite not looking her free-flowing self, the former World No 1, displayed tremendous grit and glimpses of her old self as she strode to the win without dropping a game.

“When you aren’t hundred percent fit and making a comeback, facing lower-ranked players, there is added pressure with expectations. I’m happy with the way she has coped and turned matches around. All said and done, a win is a win,” he remarked. Even during the recently concluded Premier Badminton League (PBL), Saina was seen moving gingerly on court but Vimal believes that she is almost at her best and the next few weeks of training will be key to her progress.

“I’d probably say she is at 80 percent of her full fitness. The next four to six weeks will be crucial to get ready for the bigger events in March like the All England Open Championship. “As of now she doesn’t feel any pain in her knee but there will be strain because of the back-to-back matches. Once she is back, her focus has to be on training and improving on her endurance and speed before she is tested at the bigger events,” he added.

Having played the 11-point format for the first time in the PBL, Saina had to switch to the conventional 21-point system in Malaysia, something Vimal believes is a format that she is comfortable with. “It is a format that most players are comfortable with and gives you a better chance to come back. With the 11-system, it’s half a game and very quick and taxing as well because of its pace.”
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