Saina preparing hard for tough test at India Open
Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal says the draw at the upcoming India Open badminton tournament is tough and progressing in the competition will not be a cakewalk.
Stating that her first-round opponent, Belaetrix Manuputi of Indonesia, has been showing impressive form, Saina said: "The draw is quite tough, it is not easy. In the first round itself I am playing with an Indonesian player who is doing really well. But I am preparing hard to win the India Open Superseries."
The world No. 2, however, said that she is determined to give her 100 per cent.
"Every tournament is tough, it's a Superseries event and all the top players will be playing in the India Open, but I am hoping to put my best foot forward," said Saina.
The tournament is scheduled to be held at the DDA Squash and Badminton Stadium (Siri Fort Complex), from April 23-28.
"It's special because it's held in Delhi. Lots of home fans will be there to cheer me up and at the same time my parents can come and watch me. Youngsters will also get a chance to learn from the senior players."Meanwhile, national coach Pullela Gopichand was hopeful that the host nation will come up with an impressive show.
Gopichand looking forward to performance of doubles players, youngsters
"Preparation is pretty decent and I think we had the time post-All-England and Swiss Open. We have the Asian Championship coming up this week and the experience will help us at the India Open," the former All-England champion said.
"I think we are getting closer each time and hopefully Saina will be able to get us that coveted thing. We also have (World No.7 Parupalli) Kashyap who is doing well. I feel all the players have emerged stronger in these years, not only in singles but also in the doubles events. Somebody will win us the India Open Superseries title."
The coach added that the focus will be on all the shuttlers and not just limited to the singles players.
"There are a whole lot of juniors, who have the opportunity to play against the best players of the world and I expect them to use this as a launch pad. We also have our doubles combinations -- whether it is Jwala Gutta and Diju or Ashwini Ponnappa and Pradnya. I am looking forward to their performance," said Gopichand.
The Badminton Association of India President, Akhilesh Das Gupta said, "We look forward to an Indian player winning at least one of the titles this year. Our endeavour is to bring the best badminton players to India for our fans."
Image: Jwala Gutta and V Diju