Disappointing the spectators at the Sardar Patel NSCI Stadium, Saina Nehwal pulled out of the Premier Badminton League (PBL)
opener between Awadhe Warriors and Mumbai Rockets, citing a foot injury.
The World No. 2, who was bought by Awadhe Warriors for a whopping USD 100,000, said she had suffered a serious foot injury and this being the Olympic year, with the Games in Rio scheduled in August, she did not want to aggravate it.
"Just the last couple of weeks (ago) I had suffered an injury on the feet. It is quite serious and I am on the verge of recovering," Saina said.
"This being the Olympic year I wanted to play it safe. It was my first (practice) sessions after a few weeks. We have five matches and I hope to recover and play.
"We will do well. Definitely this is one of the biggest leagues and will help all our players," she added while addressing the small crowd at the stadium.
Saina had played in the season-ending Dubai Super Series in December last but did not cross the group stage after losing two out of three games.
She had reached the final of China Open in November before pulling out of Hong Kong Open due to the foot injury and then took part in Dubai.
Saina's place in the women's singles was taken by 17-year-old G Vrushali from Telangana, who was scheduled to play against National Champion Rutvika Gadde of the host team after the first men's singles game between Warriors' Sai Praneeth and Rockets' R M V Gurusaidutt and the men's doubles clash between Cai Yun/Hendra Gunawan of Warriors against Mathias Boe and Vladimir Ivanov of Rockets.