India’s top-ranked shuttler Saina Nehwal blamed a series ofinjuries she suffered during the year for her dip in form and said that her main focus in the coming year would be regaining her fitness.
“If I look back, I think despite injuries I continued playing. 2013 was all about injuries like my toe fracture, ankle injury and other small niggles. I didn’t realise how time flew. In 2014, I will make sure that I skip a few tournaments and focus on my fitness.
“I would be selective about the tournaments I play, so that I can get enough rest. Compared to earlier, I was moving a little slow on the court as I had put on a lot of weight,” Nehwal said on the sidelines of the Usha All India Ladies and Junior Girls Amateur Golf Championship’s prize distribution ceremony at the Bombay Presidency Golf Club (BPGC) yesterday.
The Hyderabadi, who has seen her ranking slump to World No 8, is confident of a comeback. “It might take a month to get back my fitness, but I will try to maintain it during tournaments. I was World No 8 when I started playing and then I worked my way up to No 2. My target will be to win as many tournaments (including the Super Series titles) as possible. “I have been playing with the same players for many years; hence I know their game. Next year will be much better (for me) as I am playing lesser tournaments and working more on my fitness,” said the London Olympics bronze medallist.
The 23-year-old also said that considering her performances in major events like the Olympics and Asian Games in the past, she hoped to peak in time for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the Asiad in Incheon, South Korea later this year.
“2010 and 2012 were good for me personally as there was Asian Games and Olympics. This year wasn’t that good. But I hope I get back to winning ways soon,” she said.
Asked if she agrees to Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra’s comment that country’s top athletes should have the right to skip the nationals she said, “I agree with what he has to say. The option should be there considering that you are playing almost 16 tournaments in a year. We play them to qualify for Olympics, Asian Games or Commonwealth Games,” said Nehwal who will be giving the Korea Open (January 7-12) a miss.