IBL will be a comeback to real competition: Jwala Gutta
India's star doubles exponent Jwala Gutta hasn't tasted much success after returning from a seven-month long sabbatical following the London Olympics and she is a bit "nervous" to start in the Indian Badminton League (IBL), which she reckons will be a "comeback" tournament.
"It is a kind of comeback to the real competition. Its been long. Before IBL, I didn't go to tournaments with much expectations. But here I am expecting a lot from myself. I am much fitter than I was even before the Olympics.
I am a little nervous as there would be real competition and it is a sort of comeback," Jwala, who will lead the Krrish Delhi Smashers in the two-week event, said. "I have lost around 12 kgs since I started training in April. I am on strict diet.
I cut off carbs as I could not change my training. I had to ensure that I don't get injured. Now I am fitter, lighter and feeling fresh," added the Icon player after the team's practice at Siri Fort stadium.
Jwala, who won the bronze medal at the 2011 World Championships, had taken a break after the London Olympics and was back at the court at the All England championship. She played in India Open, Indonesia and Singapore Super Series, partnering Prajakta Sawant, but without any success.
However, she will be leading the Krrish Delhi Smashers against Pune Pistons on Wednesday in their inaugural IBL match and Jwala said she is confident of her team. "I feel we have a lot of potential. Doubles is our strength but sadly there are just two doubles matches.
We have a lot of potential. Darren Liew is a good player and I would not underestimate him. Even Sai Praneeth is a team player," she said. "In women's singles also Jindapon Nichaon is a good player, she had given Saina Nehwal good competition at the Thailand Open last year," Jwala added. The 29-year-old from Hyderabad believes the new format in the IBL will make it an exciting tournament, throwing some interesting results.
H S Prannoy, another men's singles player, also felt the new format will act as an advantage for the Indian players and they can hope to beat top players such as Lee Chong Wei. "Players such as Tien Minh Nguyen used to play long matches. It is more rallies.
These players don't have much strokes, it is more fitness," he said. "Even with Lee Chong Wei we will have an advantage in this 11-point format. With Lee you can't play the whole match at his pace, but in this format, you can have a better chance by going full out in the 11-point third game," Prannoy said. Krrish Delhi Smashers will take on Pune Pistons in the opening match of the IBL.