After losing out early at the Rio Olympics in 2016, Saina Nehwal immediately underwent a knee operation to cure the problem that resulted in her quick exit. Thereafter, she remained out for a long period before struggling to find the same vigour and intensity that was associated with her. But on Wednesday, a good glimpse of that was provided to one and sundry at the Senior National Championships in Nagpur.
She credited Pullela Gopichand, with whom she’s working ever since severing ties with Vimal Kumar, and the team for working on her movement. “I would like to thank Gopi sir and the team for working on my movement and helping me improve my game. They have played quite an important role in this win,” she said after the 21-17, 27-25 win over PV Sindhu.
Saina expected a stiff competition against the World No 2 Sindhu. “I think it was a very difficult game for me. Sindhu is world number 2 at the moment. I was expecting this to be very tough for me. I was able to move well today, and I was able to pick up her shots. I am really happy today. My movements were very good, and I was not thinking too much about the score,” she said in the post-match TV interview.
“My fighting spirit was quite good, and even I am surprised by how I played today. I think I played a 100 percent today. Every tournament is a new tournament. I have won the first nationals after almost 10 times,” she stated.