Upbeat over winning the China Open title and moving up to the fourth spot in the latest BWF rankings, star shuttler Saina Nehwal says she is working on becoming the best in the world.
“I am happy that, from world number nine to I reached world number four with three titles. Now, I am hoping to do well in the Dubai Super Series final next month,” she told PTI.
Besides seeking more success on the tour, the Hyderabadi said is focussed on maintaining fitness in the run up to the 2016 Olympics.
“It is very important to stay fit now as the Olympics are coming nearer. It will be more about remaining fit and playing the best against the top three Chinese players in the world. I will try to beat them as many times as possible or try to give them a very tough fight which is very important,” she said.
She said she would work hard for achieving the number one position, but no time-frame can be put to it.
“I will try my best. World Number One is a target obviously everyone wants to achieve. But it is not easy as the other Chinese arealso strong. So, I would just keep working hard and you never know anything can happen. (I) reached world number four, so, hopefully, would like to win some more tournaments and would like to give my best. It is not going to be easy, but, I am going to work very hard for that,” she said.
Ahead of the keenly-fought China Open, Saina worked on rectifying the loose-ends in her game, particularly on her movement on the court, in consultation with coach Vimal Kumar in Bangalore.
“The training I did before going to this tournament was right and according to what mistakes I was doing in the previous tournaments, so I was just rectifying those mistakes and finally it got right in the China Open. Because, I can see the improvement was happening from the Asian Games when I played Wang Yihan, when I played in the Denmark and French Open, I almost beat (a top player) in the third game, I was leading 15-6 and lost from there on.
“So, I was learning from those matches and finally, with the kind of training I was doing with Vimal sir and, strategy, we both were thinking what we should apply, in the practice.”
Saina, who trained with chief national coach Pullela Gopichand for long in Hyderabad, shifted to Bangalore about two months ago to be trained under Vimal Kumar.
With young shuttler Kidambi Srikanth thrashing the top-ranked Lin Dan of China to win the China crown, the impression that it is extremely difficult to beat Chinese players is a thing of the past.
“Indians can beat Chinese. It’s not that we cannot beat them. But, it is always going to be tough. One time, if you beat them, second time, they will come prepared for your match. It is not that second time you can beat them easily.
Every time, you will have to face a fight and you have to be very, very strong to play against them. You have to keep on fighting and hopefully we can win a few times with them, not easy, but we can give our best. It is not impossible,” she said.
Replying to a query about training under Vimal Kumar in Bangalore, she said the matter of her practice and training should be left to her.
“I think it is done now. I am training there and achieving. I think people should think about me getting more medals for the country and not thinking about what I am doing, where I am training. That’s not really they have to worry about. They have to just think about how I should win tournaments and how I perform. Practice is my problem and I will take care of it very well. It’s not that much of an
issue,” she stressed.
Saina added that she wanted to shift to Bangalore following a lean phase in 2013.
“When I was in Hyderabad for the last one year, I was not very happy with my performance in 2013 when I did not win a single title. I was feeling that I was getting stuck somewhere. I wanted to do something different and see if I can improve. In the world championship also, I felt that, with Li Xurei I was not very comfortable. Vimal sir was there with me in world championships. He thought, may be, I should improve in some areas. I thought, may be, I should try out with him for some days.
“Obviously, it’s not easy to shift from someone you have been training for so many years,” she said.