2012 Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal suffered defeat at the hands of compatriot Malvika Bansod at the ongoing Yonex Sunrise India Open tournament on Thursday.
Malvika, ranked 111, wrapped up the game with a straight sets victory (17-21, 9-21) in the women's singles match that lasted 34 minutes.
Saina has been battling her injuries for a few months now. The former champion was away from the badminton court for nearly two months. While she recovered with just a week to go before India Open preparations, there was very little that the 31-year-old could do. Following her exit, she said:
"So as you know that the groin tear was there from October 25 to I would say I started playing on December 27. The problem with the knee was that I could see only with the days going by as I could not push as the patella is an important part of a knee and it would only improve with the load that I am putting, so, that I could only put after January 2 and 3."
She further added:
"So whatever time I got in these 10 days, I tried to improve my court movements. But the problem which now remains is that fitness is not there so you cannot fight with the players who are very good like Malvika. I couldn't do much of my physical fitness but I am happy that my body could play those two matches."
"I came here to see where I stand" - Saina Nehwal
Saina Nehwal also stated that she participated in the tournament to see where she stood in terms of fitness, strength, court movement and other aspects.
"Last time when I played in October, I couldn't play those difficult shots but today I am happy that I did good strengthening of my groin and knee and I was moving on the court. I came here to see where I stand. I should be where I am to participate in the upcoming tournaments. That way I think the body is good but the fitness level needs to be worked on," added Saina Nehwal.