Saina hoping for quick return to competition

Averaging 22 points per match,the Saina Nehwal ‘smash’ is central to her game — and winning. The shoulder which conjures that forceful power....

Written by Express News Service | Published: February 11, 2009 3:23:30 pm

Averaging 22 points per match,the Saina Nehwal ‘smash’ is central to her game — and winning. The shoulder which conjures that forceful power in the Indian shuttler’s weapon has sent distress signals just before the nationals; and more importantly,three weeks ahead of her first important target-tournament of the year — the All England. “I’m really scared right now and hopefully it’ll completely recover before March,since I’m very focused on the tournament. The shoulder’s where the power comes from,and a weakness there would severely affect my smash and toss,” Nehwal said.

Hopeful of a timely return before the March 3 All England,and mildly relieved that the rotator cuff tendonitis was spotted by physio Heath Matthews in the nick of time,Nehwal has gotten down to a fitness routine which focuses on improving the rest of her fitness,even while the shoulder’s put through rehab.

It could have been worse. “It develops because of muscle imbalance when a set of muscles remain weaker,and there was a real risk of a rotator cuff tear which would’ve put her out of action for months,hence I advised her to drop the nationals,” says Matthews,terming the shoulder-worry borderline serious,but nothing that cannot be mended.

What’s gotten the World No 10 worried is that the affected area is her shoulder in plentiful use for five intensive months when she played non-stop,and Matthews agrees that it is tricky considering the power-game that the shuttler plays. “The smash is her weapon,and a defining stroke in her arsenal. But it puts a lot of pressure on the shoulder,” he adds. Hence,the rehab is specifically aimed at strengthening the muscles.

Chetan careful too

Suffering from a side thigh strain,India’s top men’s player Chetan Anand too pulled out from the Indore nationals,insisting that he couldn’t risk an aggravation of the injury troubling him since the Korean Open.

“I don’t want to take too much load,though I can play a little with some strain,” he said. Deeming himself 60-70 per cent fit,Chetan’s given himself 3-5 days to decide on the fate of his competing at the German Open,where he stands a good chance of a title,being seeded second.

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