'I am happy with my improvement. My movements are still sluggish. I still need good match practice'
Back in action after recovering from a knee injury, star shuttler Saina Nehwal says she needs good match practice to be at her best in the prestigious All England Championship in March.
"I am happy with my improvement. My movements are still sluggish. I still need good match practice," she told reporters here late last night after losing to top-ranked shuttler Carolina Marin in a Premier Badminton League (PBL) match.
Saina had sustained an intra-articular injury (inside the joint) in her right knee and had lost in the group stage in the Rio Olympics. She later underwent a surgery and was on rehab.
She made a comeback in the China Open, but lost in the opening round in a grueling contest. Subsequently, she took part in the Macau Open Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament where she lost in the quarterfinals.
Saina, who lost to Marin 14-15 5-11 in the women's singles match between Awadhe Warriors and Hyderabad Hunters, said she could have won the first game.
"I gave her a tough fight. I could have won the first game. The Gachibowli stadium (venue of the match) is fast. I could not control the shuttle. She (Marin) already played here (the previous day). She was used to the conditions," said the 26-year-old Saina, who is playing for Awadhe Warriors in the ongoing PBL.
Marin was quick and sharp on the court in the match, she said, adding that her on court movement still needed improvement.
Saina, who is currently ranked 10th in BWF world rankings, hinted that she could next play in the Malaysia Open at the end of this month.