Line calls invariably go in China’s favour: Saina

New Delhi, April 23: India’s top women’s badminton player Saina Nehwal said Monday that it was somewhat a handicap playing in China as the line calls invariably go in favour of Chinese players.

Saina suffered a shock loss against little-known Chinese youngster Xiao Jia Chen in the second round of the Badminton Asia Championships in Qingdao, China.

“I knew Chen is a good player but had not played her much before. The line and umpires calls in China go in favour of Chinese, so it’s a big advantage for others, but I’m not complaining,” Saina told reporters here after a gruelling practice session ahead of the Indian Open, starting Tuesday.

“I just have to work out how to beat some of the Chinese. Except for a couple of them, I have beaten everyone, so I am confident.”

The World No.5 said that the Chinese are a close knit group and they don’t go for individual glory.

“The problem is there are so many Chinese players and even if one loses, someone else wins. They are not too individualistic, they have great unity. They don’t go for individual glory, they just aim to get a medal for China.”

Saina, who’s played World No.1 Wang Yihan four times and lost on all occasions, said that the Chinese was very difficult to play against.

“Wang Yihan is very difficult to play against, she has a very quick game. I have to be extremely careful,” Saina said.

“They are also scared playing against me. I have beaten the other Chinese before easily, I have continuously played against them, they understand my game and I know their game.”

Saina felt that the Chinese players were at an advantage as most of their coaches were former greats of the game.

“All Chinese coaches are very accomplished, most of them are world champions or have won some Super Series or the other. So, we can’t compare India with them. Their infrastructure is at another level. Even in small villages they have so many courts and all the players are talented.”

Saina lamented the lack of top players in the country who she could practice with.

“I don’t have a player of my level to practice with, so I have to play with boys. Over there all of them are so good and they constantly practice against one another.”

Talking about the Indian Open at the Siri Fort sports complex, Saina said it was a special place for her, having won a gold medal there in the Commonwealth Games.

“Indian Open is a very special tournament for me and so is Siri Fort. I won gold at the Commonwealth Games here and I want on to win a Super Series tournament in India. Top players will come here and these players will be playing at the Olympics too,” she said.

IANS