PV Sindhu is talented while Saina Nehwal's a fighter, says legend shuttler Nandu Natekar

May 14, 2018, 11:17 IST | Subodh Mayure

Badminton legend Nandu Natekar has hailed India's top female shuttlers, Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu for their distinct characteristics and applauded chief national coach Pullela Gopichand for taking Indian badminton

India's legendary shuttler Nandu Natekar (left) with son Gaurav at CCI on Saturday
India's legendary shuttler Nandu Natekar (left) with son Gaurav at CCI on Saturday

Badminton legend Nandu Natekar has hailed India's top female shuttlers, Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu for their distinct characteristics and applauded chief national coach Pullela Gopichand for taking Indian badminton to great heights internationally.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Legends Club felicitation function at the Cricket Club of India, where his 85th birthday was celebrated on Saturday, Natekar, the first Indian to win a badminton title overseas back in 1956, said: "Saina's an absolute fighter. I believe comparisons are fallacious, as they say, but out of these two [Saina and Sindhu], Saina is definitely a great fighter. However, Sindhu is a little more talented, if I may put it that way, and of course she has that height which she uses to her advantage," Natekar told mid-day, moments after cutting his birthday cake.

Saina Nehwal
Saina Nehwal

India's golden era
Sangli-born Natekar, who won six singles, six doubles and five mixed doubles national titles in the 1950s, endorsed what another Indian badminton legend, Prakash Padukone said about this being the golden era of Indian badminton. "It's very true that this is the golden era of Indian badminton. It's so pleasing to see the names of the Indian girls in focus, and even the men, instead of Chinese, Thais and Malaysians.

"It's a tremendous achievement and they deserve all the kudos," added Natekar, who went on to laud the perseverance of Gopichand, another stalwart of the game. "The point is that someone has to direct things. All of us players, who emerged then, including Prakash [Padukone], we practised by ourselves. "We watched others and learnt as there was no official coaching then. But now, you have a Gopichand, who runs the academy and does it very scientifically. That's the right way to go and that's why we are seeing positive results.

PV Sindhu
PV Sindhu

Gopichand deserves credit
"There is no question about Gopichand's contribution. He deserves all credit for the success of Indian badminton. Of course, the players have made the effort too," added Natekar, who currently lives in Pune with his son Gaurav, a former Davis Cup tennis player.

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