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Gopi: ‘It’s important to keep evolving’

Dev Sukumar
EXPERT COLUMNIST
Editor's Pick
1.08K   //    19 Mar 2012, 16:02 IST

Pullela Gopichand with Saina Nehwal

Former All England champion Pullela Gopichand talks to Sportskeeda from Basel in Switzerland about Saina Nehwal’s Swiss Open win, a day after his celebrated trainee beat world No.3 Wang Shixian in the final:

Are you relieved with this victory?

Yes. It was important for her confidence, and especially coming at this time, prior to the Olympics. It was important for her to win the title, from a confidence perspective.

Does the win overturn a lot of the pressure that you both must’ve felt?

Even though Saina didn’t admit it, I knew she was under pressure. So it was important for her to pull it off. She has been beating the Chinese, but not their top players in the late rounds of a tournament. It was important to beat one of the top Chinese in the final, and it was important  that she win and not let people ask questions about why she wasn’t winning a title.

Did you do anything specific technically that helped Saina beat Wang Shixian so convincingly?

As a player you need to keep evolving, as your opponents will keep studying and analyzing you. It’s about trying to get better each time. We know they record her matches and study her, so it’s important not to repeat mistakes, and to cut down on errors.

Just as they study you, you too must be studying the Chinese and other opponents…

Yes, I do keep track. We watch videos and do our analyses.

The win must be welcome with the Olympics in sight.

Yes, it’s a good boost mentally, and to motivate her to continue to perform at that level. It is good also to make the Chinese a little scared of you. There are a few more months to go and the India Open is next.


Dev Sukumar
EXPERT COLUMNIST
Dev S Sukumar is the recipient of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Media Award, 2011. He is India's most widely travelled badminton writer, having covered several international tournaments, including the Olympics, the Asian Games, the CWG Games, World Championships, the All England, the Denmark Open, the Malaysia Open, etc. He has covered badminton for over ten years now. During this period he has met fascinating characters, witnessed great matches, and has authored a biography of Indian badminton great Prakash Padukone. He has written on the game for several publications, including Sports Illustrated, Mint, Badminton Asia magazine, The New Indian Express, Hindustan Times, DNA and IANS. He tweets at twitter.com/shuttlemania
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