Saina: I need to calm myself

Saina Nehwal admits she needs to be calmer on court to improve the other aspects of her game.

Badminton News: Saina Nehwal

"First I feel I need to calm myself down. I am the only player from India and people expect a lot. I have to relax myself, play all the strokes freely and then only I think I can improve my fitness and technique," Saina told PTI after returning home following her Swiss Open triumph in Basel.

"...if I just focus on training and take a lot of pressure, then I think nothing will work out well," she explained.

Saina said her mentor and national coach Pullela Gopichand has helped her immensely in coping with the pressure of expectations.

"I was under pressure because I was not winning tournaments. I also had an ankle injury. Finally, Gopi Sir told me that I think you have taken too much of pressure and you are not enjoying your game," she recalled.

"He was feeling that I am not really moving well and I am feeling stiff on the court. He told me 'just relax and enjoy yourself and play. I will correct your mistakes and don't worry about that.' So, I think all of that worked very well this time," she said.

Saina said the victory in Swiss Open was important as it helped her regain her confidence.

"It is very important because Olympics are coming. I needed one big break. It came at the right time. Of course, it took some time but I needed to get back my focus and confidence. I improved all of that. So, I am really happy," Saina said.

Asked how difficult it was against the Chinese players, she said though it was tough she overcame the challenge with a calm mind.

"It is always difficult with the Chinese I think for all the players. This time I felt it was very easy. I beat them comfortably. It was because I went and played with a calm mind," she said.

Saina admitted that winning a medal in Olympics would not be easy but she is determined to do as well as she can.

"I really want to win a medal. But it is not easy as it is a long road ahead. Six-seven rounds for the medal. We will be working for that. But I am sure I will do well this time," she said.

Saina said she may not play all the tournaments lined up in April and June this year ahead of the Olympics.

"I will play two of them. If I totally skip them, it is not good. I have to keep playing and keep myself fit also," she said.

"The tournaments are going to help me because I can compete against all the players. I will gain confidence. I can learn from my mistakes. We can make some changes," she said.



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