On a comeback trail, Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal today said her knee still hurts sometimes and a fear of injury has gripped her mind.
The Olympic bronze medallist had suffered a career-threatening knee injury ahead of the Rio Olympics and had to undergo a surgery in August last year, but she still fought back to win the Malaysia Masters in January.
"I never knew what surgery was but after I went through it I realised how tough returning from it can be. You lose movements, touch and again to get back to your full fitness is extremely tough," Saina told reporters on the eve of the India Open.
"It takes more time than usual, you can't straightaway recover and win. It is not only physical but mental too. Even now there is always this tension and fear that what if I again get injured.
"Even in All England that match I lost, it was 50-50, it could have gone anywhere. So I know I will be back to my best form with time."
The world No. 8 Indian will be one of the favourites at the Indian Super Series, an event she won two years back to achieve the world No. 1 ranking.
Ahead of the seventh edition of the tournament, Saina said: "Delhi has always been special to me. I won the Commonwealth Games gold here and then won the Indian Open in 2015 and became the world No. 1. So everything has been special for me. It is great to play in front of home crowd.
"Of course the competition has become tougher and tougher at India Open. So all I can say is I will give my best and hope to do well.
"Good thing is there is no expectation. When I stared there was less expectation and now also there is less pressure, which is good," she added.
Olympic silver medallist P V Sindhu will be the cynosure of all eyes when she starts her campaign at the Siri Fort Sports Complex. "I am looking forward to the event. It will be an exciting week, the competition is tough and I will give my best," the world No. 5 said.