Her confidence back after the India Grand Prix Gold triumph, ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal today said the setbacks of an injury-marred last year are now firmly behind her.
Saina snapped a 15-month title drought by claiming the India Grand Prix, beating rising star P V Sindhu in the final. Reflecting on 2013, which saw her battle poor form and injuries, Saina said it was a case of everything going wrong at the same time.
Saina Nehwal. File Pic
"I was a little disappointed. Obviously, everyone gets disappointed when you play at such high level and suddenly you see yourself not doing so well. I think there were a lot of factors. There was a toe fracture which I never expected would happen at such a time," Saina told PTI in an interview.
"But, after the Super Series finals, I thought may be I should take a break and not really hurry up. Because, this year is going to be very tough with the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games are coming up," she said. "So, Gopi sir (national coach P Gopichand) and I decided that I better skip the Korea Open and take a break for four weeks and come back strong for Malaysia and India Open. I think the time of four weeks really helped us to prepare for these two tournaments," she added. Saina said her results will depend a lot on her fitness in the months to come.
"I got lot of time (during the four weeks) to work on my movements and strokes. I was thinking that I would do well. It is special that within four weeks of training, I won such a big tournament. I think now it would only get better if I keep on training the same way," she said.
Though the string of losses disappointed her, the Olympic bronze-medallist said she remained focused on future without allowing the poor form to affect her mentally. "It is tough. Finally, this is a sport. You are going to win many matches and you are going to lose many matches. So, I was not really thinking about what all happened last year," she said.
Saina said she just needed one match to pull her confidence back and that came in the India Grand Prix semifinal. "I was thinking about it as a tournament where I could do well. I just needed to pull off one match. I was sure that if I can pull off one match, I will be back to my best. That match against Deng Xuan in semifinals (of India Open) was the match where I got my confidence back," she said.
"I was losing 21-19 in the last half of the year with most of the top players. But in this match, I got that last one point and it changed everything. So I think you need that one match and when you get it, everything changes," she added. The 23-years-old said she can continue to be in top form for the next few years if she stays fit.
"I think the way I am training now, the way I am performing now, if I stay like this, stay fit, be careful with my injuries and be careful with my body, I am sure there won't be much of an issue. Only good performances will come," she said.