Saina expects to be challenged

Nehwal is at the top of the Badminton World Federation's (BWF) women's singles ranking, 613 points clear of Spain's Carolina Marin, followed by the Chinese duo of Li Xuerui and Wang Shixian, with Chinese Taipei's Tai Tzu Ying at number five.

Nehwal took over the top ranking from from Xuerui on April 2. The Chinese was back on top the next week, for seven days before the Indian took the ranking back again.

Nehwal tells The National that she expects to be challenged strongly for the top spot.

"I feel very proud that someone from India has achieved the world No. 1 position in badminton because it is such a physically demanding game, a very tough sport, and every player dreams of reaching this position," Nehwal said.

"I guess it is good in a way because I just want to keep working hard and keep performing well. You can never underestimate the Chinese players. Ups and downs happen, but they are really strong and give you a tough fight always, even when they are going through a difficult situation.

"I can say that I have worked very hard for this. I have been a bit lucky as well, but it is not easy getting to the top position. You have to beat all the players and I have been doing that, but I am also facing very stiff competition from these players. Thankfully, I am doing a little bit better than them," she added.