Hyderabad – India’s top badminton star Saina Nehwal says it will be tough to beat the Chinese at the London Olympics despite her recent successes against them.
Saina defeated Chinese World No 4 Shixian Wang in the quarter-finals and her World No.3 compatriot Li Xuerui to win the Indonesia Open Super Series Premier event Sunday.
Saina, who returned home from Jakarta late Monday night to a warm welcome from her family, friends and well-wishers, told reporters Tuesday that it would be a tough four to five weeks of preparation for the London Games.
“For me, the important point is to be fit and injury free before the Olympics,” said Saina, who believes she is mentally in good shape following her successes in the two tournaments.
She is waiting for the return of her mentor and chief coach Pullela Gopichand from Singapore to plan a special programme for Olympics. “Of course, it will be really hard and I need to work on a few areas. I found some weak areas in my game in these two tournaments.”
The World No. 5, who defeated some of the top Chinese players in Thailand and Indonesia, feels it would not be easy playing them in the Olympics.
“Chinese are, of course, very strong opponents. They are so many of them but it is not impossible. I am trying to defeat most of them but, of course, it is not easy. I have to work very hard for that. In Olympics again, there will be three to four Chinese. I have to work extra hard for that.”
Saina defeated Shixian after a marathon quarter-final at the Indonesia Open and her World No.3 compatriot Li Xuerui in the final.
“The quarter-final was the final for me because it was a one hour 40 minutes match. We were dead on the court. I still can’t believe that I played such a long match,” she said.
Talking about the final against the reigning All England and Asian champion, she said beating one of the top contenders of the Olympic medal was highly satisfying.
Asked about the Chinese players, she said they fight for each and every point even if they are losing. “It is very good to see that. It is not easy to beat them. You have to be alert and ready for them or other Asian players.”
When asked what strategy she would have against the Chinese in Olympics, Saina said strategy hardly matters on courts. “We have to go with a plan but I am sure when we move to the court we forget everything. We just have to win each and every point.”
On her losing the weight, she said it was an experiment before the Olympics but she was taking every care to make sure that she doesn’t lose energy and strength.
“Diet plays a big part. I am following a really good diet. It is important for me to be in good shape before Olympics because the courts over there will be really slow. I have to make sure that everything is perfect from diet to practice to mental condition.”
Saina is not bothered too much about the ranking, and said it hardly matters.
“If I play well, I will be number one some day. If I am in great shape and if I am in a rhythm, I am sure I will be number one. I don’t care about the ranking.”
Saina, who won the Indonesia Open for the third time, said he enjoyed playing in that country.
“I feel like a champion when I enter Indonesian courts. I don’t know why.”