What's the story?
The Australian Badminton Open 2018, that is set to commence on 8th May at Sydney Olympic Park, has set off a gloomy picture for the Indian shuttlers as Saina Nehwal and HS Pranoy have pulled out of the tournament.
Both were the top-seeded players of the tournament. However, the latest draw that was updated on Monday saw their names missing. Besides them, Parupalli Kashyap has also pulled out, leaving B Sai Praneeth (second) and Sameer Verma (fourth) as India'sonlly representatives in the men's singles draw.
In case you didn't know...
As per the previous classification format of the tournament, the Australian Open was a Superseries event with a prize money of $750,000. However, the new classification format introduced by the Badminton World Federation, the Australian Open is now a World Tour Super 300 tournament that has reduced its prize money to $150,000.
The heart of the matter
Saina Nehwal and HS Prannoy both had an action-packed start to the year with the feats at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Badminton Championships.
World no.10 Saina Nehwal made the nation proud by bagging a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast. Her gold medal led India's collection to a whopping 26. She also displayed an impressive stint at the Asian Badminton Championship by reaching the semi-finals. She, however, lost her semi-final match against World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying in a tightly contested affair.
Prannoy, on the other hand, did not have a very good spell at the Commonwealth Games as he missed out on a bronze medal. His stint at the Asia Badminton Championship was much better as he reached the semi-finals and bagged the bronze medal. He, however, lost to Chen Long in the last four.
The duo has
now pulled out of this week's Australian Open so that they are adequately rested before the Thomas and Uber Cup.
The Thomas & Uber Cup is slated to start on May 20th, 2018, and Nehwal and Prannoy are gearing up for that. The tournament will be held in Thailand.
Despite their absence at the Australian Open, this stint can be taken as an opportunity to look forward to a fresh performance at the Thomas & Uber Cup tournament that will enhance their game.