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Rediff.com  » Sports » Getting into rhythm quickly will be key: Saina

Getting into rhythm quickly will be key: Saina

Last updated on: August 3, 2011 15:03 IST

'I have been working really hard for the last 4-5 months'

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Her troubling ankle completely healed, ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal can't wait for the World Championships next week but conceded that months of rigorous preparation would count only if she gets into the rhythm quickly at the London mega-event.

The 21-year-old took a break after the Indonesian Super Series to train for the event and said she will take it one round at a time from August 8 to 14.

"I have been working really hard for the last 4-5 months. There has been a lot of improvement but it will boil down to how well I adjust to the courts in London and play in the initial rounds," Saina said.


Image: Sania Nehwal

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'We have to adjust to the conditions quickly'

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"It is a new arena. It is a test event for the London Olympics and we have never played there so we have to adjust to the conditions quickly to take on tougher opponents in the tournament," she added.

The world number six got a bye in the first round and is likely to take on Adrianti Firdasari in the second round.

Saina has a 2-2 record against the Indonesian.

The sixth seeded Indian is likely to face 14th seed Pui Yin Yip of Hong Kong in the pre-quarters but her acid test would be in the quarters where she might meet world number three Wang Xin of China.

Xin has beaten Saina thrice in the past but the Indian won their last encounter at the Sudirman Cup in May. If Saina manages to get past Xin, she might play world number 2 Wang Yihan in the semis.


Image: Saina Nehwal

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'The draw is not very tough but it is not easy either'

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However, Saina has her feet firmly grounded and said past reputation won't matter in a World Championship and she is not thinking too far.

"The draw is not very tough but it is not easy either. It is 50-50. I have played these players in the past and won also but in the World Championship I still need to play very well to beat them so I am not thinking anything, just one match at a time," Saina said.

Saina went through highs and lows in equal measure this year. She won the Swiss Open, reached the finals of the Malaysia and Indonesian Super Series but the Indian also crashed out of the first round in Indian Open, besides bowing out of the quarterfinals of the Thailand Open and All England Championships.

"I have played quite a few tournaments with a bandage on my ankle and it was one of the reasons I couldn't play well. But it has completely healed now and there is absolutely no pain anymore," said Saina, who grappled with a ligament injury throughout the year.


Image: Saina Nehwal

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'Pressure is part of a player's life'

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Being the only top 10 shuttler in the country, there is always pressure on Saina and she says this is something she has to deal with.

"Pressure will always crop in when you don't move well or your strokes don't fetch you points but that is a part of a player's life and we need to deal with it," said Saina, who reached the quarter-finals in the last two edition of the prestigious BWF event.

Asked about the 2012 London Olympics, Saina said that is still quite far away and though she is preparing for the multi-sport event, it is not on her mind right now.

"It is still far away. I am training and just want to keep doing that. My coach will draw up a schedule for that, there are many tournaments before the Olympics and I will play the Super Series and see how it goes," she said.


Image: Saina Nehwal

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