Having scored an emphatic win in the Australian Open, ace shuttler Saina Nehwal today said she would like to keep herself fit and strong in a year that will see her compete in important tournaments, including the upcoming Commonwealth Games.
“I don’t really have to worry so much. I have won so much in my career, not really worried that I have to win anyhow. What I am worried about is my fitness, that came back, does not get damaged. I want to keep myself more fitter and more stronger.
“Take good food and feel confident. That is my main aim. If these things are in order, results would come on their own,” she told PTI in Hyderabad on Tuesday after her return from Sydney.
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She said the Australian Open Super Series win is “very very special” for her as she overcome the pain owing to blisters on her foot to wrest the match from her formidable rival.
“I think very very special. Winning Super Series title is not easy for any of the players. I have seen that many players have been playing for long but not able to win. Here, I have won the title for the seventh time. This is my 10th final.
“Final, also with blisters. I have never played a match with blisters. It was too painful. Painful and happy. Very happy that people thought that I will not be able to play well. But in Uber Cup, Indonesia Open and finally a win in Australia Open.
“I was believing that I can do it. Before Uber Cup, I told in a press conference that a title is not far. Very happy that I have made possible what I had said. Now, I will concentrate on future tournaments and try to perform well,” she said.
Asked about the blisters that bothered her, she said they could have happened due to heat, adding that she used some simple strategies to put her opponents under pressure.
“Blisters happened because it was very hot there and when you play long matches, you sweat a lot. My rival makes you move a lot. The first round was also long. There was lot of heat in my foot.”
Saina further said: “Blisters came on the first day itself. The next three days, I did not have pain because it was closed. In another match, it opened and the water inside came out and once blood also came out. It was too painful. I could not get my foot inside the shoe.
“But my physio Kiran sir was very confident. He said I will do something you will not feel pain. He taped it and gave me some medicines. In the warm up, I felt some pinch.
“I went into the match and did not want to show the opponent that I am in pain. The strategy was simple. I started aggressively so that she feels little tense. She was under a lot of pressure. I finished that rally early also. If I extend the rally, my pain aggravates. My plan was to carefully finish the rallies. I think it worked well,” she said.
Saina, who is currently ranked world number eight, said she is feeling good and does not have any fitness concerns.
“Fitness-wise, I am feeling good. I did not feel tired. I could rally more than my rival (Shixian). I defeated her. I could recover next day. It shows that recovery and fitness were good,” she said.
Asked how she managed to bounce back, she said she did some specific training on gaining strength, but did not go into the details of what she tried to do differently.
“Mentally, I was like, you cannot think about winning at this point of time. Because, I was losing to many of the players against whom I never lost also. Then I though it is better to skip the Asian Championship after Singapore Open. Because I lost in the first round. It is better to leave it and see how you train for four or five weeks.
“I think the training I did for four or five weeks, that too very specific training only for badminton. Only for improving my strength. I think that worked very well. I did not have to do extra. What I needed, I did only that. That helped me improve.
“Obviously, I do not want to go into the details. Because, I want to keep it secret. I hope to continue it for the next tournaments. When I achieve what I want to, I will definitely say what extra I did, what I did differently. But my physical training became very tough for me,” she said.