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I was nervous to play in mixed doubles: Saina Nehwal

Had Ajay Jayaram not won the second men’s singles tie against RMV Gurusaidutt to make it 3-1, Saina and Goh V Shem would have had to take on Awadhe’s Indonesian pair of Markis Kido and Pia Bernadeth in the decider at the Sardar VallabhbhaiPatel Stadium.

Hyderabad Hotshots pose with their IBL trophy on Saturday.
Hyderabad Hotshots pose with their IBL trophy on Saturday. Pic/Suresh KK

Saina admitted her opponents were a better team. “I am basically a singles player and frankly speaking, I was a little scared too because Kido and Pia are World No 9. It would have been a tough match considering Kido and Pia are better than us. They are champions. I was just ready and wanted to give my best. That was our strategy but it’s good that we won the second men’s singles,” said the World No 4 shuttler.

The London Olympics bronze-medallist was grateful to teammate Ajay Jayaram for securing the win. “In the first game when Ajay (Jayaram) lost, I was a little tense. I thought it is going to come down to the mixed doubles. But then the way he played in the second and the third (game) was brilliant. This turned out to be the main match for our team. His win ensured I didn’t have to play the mixed doubles,” said the Hyderabadi.

Despite the success of the inaugural USD 1 million franchise-based event, Nehwal said it would be pre-mature to compare it to the Indian Premier League. “Right now we can’t compare IBL with IPL. But in the coming years, IBL can catch up with IPL. Over all, I never expected to see so much money in badminton,” she said.  

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