China Open 2017: Saina Nehwal wins hearts with incredible gesture of humility
What’s the story?
Saina Nehwal, who recently won the Senior National Championships earlier this month, got off to a rollicking start in the China Open Superseries on November 14, brushing aside American Zhang Beiwen in the first round.
However, more than her victory, what caught the eye of the fans was the fact that she cleaned the sweat off the court herself without waiting for the court attendants to do their work and drew praise from fans.
In case you didn’t know
Nehwal has arrived in China on the back of a National Championships title triumph where she upstaged her compatriot PV Sindhu. This year, the Hyderabad star looks to be in excellent form having already won bronze at the World Championships and joining forces with her old coach Pullela Gopichand.
The heart of the matter
Nehwal didn’t break a sweat while packing off Zhang in just two games (21-12, 21-13) but when the court was soiled by perspiration, she walked up to the line judge, took a towel and cleaned the court herself.
This is a very common phenomenon in badminton whereby players are asked to wait while an attendant cleans the court, but Nehwal took matters into her own hands and did the job herself.
Nehwal will cross swords with fifth-seeded Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in the second round. The Indian ace will have to play out of her skin as she trails the Japanese 1-3 in overall career meetings, with all three of Yamaguchi’s victories having come in 2017.
Such small gestures are never forgotten by the fans and that in turn helps the stars to become icons of any sport. Nehwal could have easily waited as she isn’t the one who is supposed to mop the court but she made it a point to send a message to the budding players that because nobody is bigger than the sport and it’s always better to stay humble.