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Saina Nehwal withdraws from Sudirman Cup due to personal reasons

Modified 20 Dec 2019, 10:43 IST
Nehwal is currently ranked number nine in the world

What’s the story?

Ace shuttler Saina Nehwal has pulled out of the Sudirman Cup because of personal reasons. She is currently training in Bengaluru with the rest of the national team, after which she will travel to Hyderabad to her family.

She told the Times of India that she is skipping the tournament to spend time with her father, who recently underwent surgery. She said, “Yes, I have pulled out because papa just went through a prostate gland operation. I wanted to be in India for some time so that I can help him if he needs me.”

Her father Harvir Singh, who usually travels with Nehwal to her tournaments around the world, did not accompany her to China for the Asian Championships in April. He experienced discomfort before boarding his flight, after which he was operated upon in Hyderabad.

In case you didn’t know

The Sudirman Cup is a team event held every two years. This year, it will be held in Gold Coast, Australia, which will make it the first time it has been held outside Europe or Asia since its inception in 1989. India have been drawn in Group 1D along with Denmark and Indonesia.

The heart of the matter

Following her surgery after the Rio Olympics, Nehwal is still in recovery mode and is yet to get up and running to the best of her capacity. She won the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold in January but since then she has suffered exits at the quarterfinal stage at the All England Open and India Open.

PV Sindhu is expected to lead India’s charge at the Sudirman Cup along with the men’s singles players. The 21-year-old Sindhu will be rested for the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold, while Nehwal will have a packed June with the Thailand Open and the Super Series tournaments in Indonesia and Australia.

India have a tough task ahead of them in Australia and will have to pick their squad carefully if they have to stand a chance of making it to the next stage.

What’s next?

The current world number nine will face off against Slovakia’s Martina Repsika in the first round in Thailand and will look to better her performances at the Malaysia Open and Asian Championships, where she was eliminated in the opening matches.

Author’s take

Nehwal’s decision is understandable given the circumstances. We hope that she returns refreshed from the break and performs well in the coming tournaments next month.

Published 12 May 2017, 17:11 IST
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