Media hype put me under pressure: Saina Nehwal
World No.4 Saina Nehwal said the hype created by the media and public put her under pressure in her Indian Badminton League (IBL) match against P.V. Sindhu here Thursday.
Hyderabad Hotshots' Saina went on to beat Awadhe Warriors' Sindhu 21-19, 21-8 to give her team a crucial 2-0 lead at the Siri Fort Sports Complex here.
Sindhu's recent exploits at the World Championships where she became the first Indian woman shuttler to win bronze, led to the match being billed as a big showdown between India's two top shuttlers.
"Actually the media and public hyped up our match so much. Otherwise we play each other everyday at the academy. But since this match was so talked about, I felt a bit of pressure and it became a little tight in the beginning," Saina told reporters after the match.
Saina had to toil hard after Sindhu raced into the lead in the first game but the Olympic bronze medallist came back strongly to edge the first game.
The second game turned out to be a mere formality as Saina dominated her younger opponent from start to finish.
"There was no strategy. You have to keep changing your tactics seeing how your opponent is playing. I just concentrated on playing my natural game and give my best."
"My play is always aggressive. Initially she played very well but you have to read your opponent's game. You have to be ready. It is not just about Sindhu but whosoever you are playing, and react accordingly. My focus was to be relaxed and play well," she said.
The Hotshots went on to win the tie 3-2 give their team a good start to the tournament. "We were really nervous when the mixed doubles match was going on and it was swinging from one end to another. But at the end we won," said Saina.
"Overall we gave our best. Today I was lucky to have won," she added. "The matches and the contests are not going to be easy as all the top players would play each other everyday. It would mostly be 3-2 finish."
Asked about the hectic travelling schedule, Saina said: "IPL is happening the same way. But I think when we travel to different places it would spread awareness about the sport. It would be hectic, no doubt, but in order to popularise the game we will have to do it.
Next year is going to be even more hectic as there will be Commonwealth Games, then Asian Games and World Championships. It will be even more packed."
Sindhu rued her judgment errors and defensive play in the second game saying that cost her the game.
"Happy with my overall game but in the second game I was a bit negative. I made too many judgment errors and should have been more attacking, I think that caused me the match," said Sindhu.
The 18-year-old said her medal at the Worlds had given her a confidence boost.
"World championship has really boosted my spirit, my target was to be in the top 10 by the end of this year, and I'm already achieved that so I'm very happy.
"Today was my first match with Saina, and it was very challenging but I played my game. The crowd really supported me and my team and we are confident that we will perform much better as we go along in the league," she added.