Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal is delighted to be part of the same team as former Olympic and world champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia at the upcoming Indian Badminton League (IBL).
“Taufik is a role model and a driving force in the game. I am really happy to be part of Hyderabad Hotshots and I was thrilled once he was also included,” said Saina, who is currently preparing for the Aug 5-11 World Championships in Guangzhou.
The 23-year-old, who was bagged for USD 120,000 in the IBL players auction, said she was looking forward to train with the legendary Indonesian.
“Getting to train and play along with him is going to be brilliant. It will be the best part about playing the league,” said the World No.3.
“Fans would love to watch him on courts. I know Taufik sir since I joined the game. He is known for his wrist play while his back strokes are matchless and so nicely and accurately hit. His net play and court coverage too are unparalleled."
"I remember playing with him as a mixed double partner for an exhibition match in Syed Modi Memorial tournament in Lucknow in 2009. I have great memories of that match.
I also have a smashing photograph with him, Prakash (Padukone) sir and Gopi (Pullela Gopichand) sir from an event held in Mumbai the same year. Now, our association for Hyderabad Hotshots will be for more than a fortnight,” added the Hyderabadi.
About the Indonesian, Saina said, “He is extremely energetic on the court and makes badminton look easy and simple. I am sure his presence will be a great morale booster to the team.”
Commenting on the Indonesian's famed charm and handsome looks, Saina, who has a hat-trick of Indonesia Open titles under her belt, said, "Taufiq sir is the king of badminton, handsome, talented and very humble. He is extremely energetic on the court and so charming that he makes badminton look easy and simple, though it's not.
"It is the fastest game in the world and requires loads of energy to play. Taufiq sir is very simple and yet moody, if he is not interested in a game he will not play. I'm sure his presence will be a great morale booster to Hyderabad Hotshots."