Saina Nehwal in a file photo. After a year of not winning any titles and a dip in form, she is hoping to start winning again.
BUKIT JALIL: Comebacks are easier said than done.
This is the reality that India’s Saina Nehwal is facing as she looks to rediscover her form that won her country’s first badminton bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics Games.
The 24-year-old skipped the season-opening Korean Open due to fitness issues and will begin her campaign in the main draw of the Maybank Malaysian Open on Wednesday.
Having not won a trophy last year, Saina is keen to get back to her winning ways and she feels the Malaysian Open will be her launch pad.
“This is a big tournament on the Super Series calendar and is one I look to win. I know it won’t be easy with the tough competition but I will try my best and hope it can provide a boost to my performance,” said Saina, who is looking to win her first Malaysian Open title.
She may face current world number one and top seed Li Xuerui of China if both reach the semi-finals in the top half of the draw, but Saina is not intimidated.
“It doesn’t matter who I face - be it a top player or not, as long as I’m focused on winning and if I believe I can do it, I know I can win,” said Saina, whose last trophy was at the 2012 Denmark Open.
Her dip in form for the past year has sparked questions about her fitness but the world No. 8 said she is just tired of not achieving results despite putting in the hard work.
“Sometimes it gets hard when nothing goes your way. However, I believe India is slowly becoming a force in badminton and will one day be able to compete side by side with the likes of China,” said Saina.
“It was a difficult year for me last year as I suffered some injuries and really struggled to find my form. I have trained hard and have a feeling this will be a good year,” she added.
Besides Saina, India will also be banking on 18-year-old World Championships bronze medallist P.V. Sindhu to spice up the fight in the women’s competition at Putra Stadium.