Hyderabad, June 19: Fresh after confidence boosting title wins in Thailand and Indonesia, India’s ace shuttler Saina Nehwal is gearing for the Olympic challenge but admits it won’t be easy.
Saina, who returned from Jakarta Monday night to a warm welcome from her family, friends and well-wishers, told reporters Tuesday that she anticipates a tough four-five week preparation for London.
“For me the important point is to be fit and injury free before the Olympics,” said Saina.
She is waiting for the return of her mentor and chief coach Pullela Gopi Chand from Singapore to plan a special programme for Olympics.
“Of course it will be really hard and I need to work on a few areas. I found some weak areas in my game in these two tournaments.”
The fifth seed, who defeated some of the top Chinese players in Thailand and Jakarta, feels it would not be easy playing them in Olympics.
“The Chinese are of course very strong opponents. They are so many of them but it is not impossible. I am trying to defeat most of them but of course it is not easy. I have to work very hard for that.
“In Olympics again there will be three or four Chinese. I have to really work extra hard for that.”
Saina defeated world number four Shixian Wang in the quarter-finals and world number three Xuerui Li in the final of Indonesian Open Super Series.
“The quarter final was the final for me because it was a one hour 40 minute match. I think it was the longest in the women’s singles history.
“We were dead on the court. I still can’t believe that I played such a long match,” she said.
Talking about the final against Li, she said beating one of the top contenders for the Olympic gold was a big thing.
Asked about the Chinese players, she said they fight for each and every point even if they are losing.
“It is very good to see that. It is not easy to beat them. You have to be alert and ready for Chinese players or other Asian players. They are all improving.”
Asked what strategy she would have against Chinese opponents in Olympics, Saina said strategy hardly matters on courts.
“We have to go with a plan but I am sure when we move to court we forget everything. We just have to win each and every point.”
She said she was taking every care to make sure that she doesn’t lose energy and strength.
“Diet plays a big part. I am following a really good diet. It is important for me to be in good shape before Olympics because the courts over there will be really slow.
“I have to make sure that everything is perfect from diet to practice to mental condition.”
She said while pressure would be there on her to win in the Olympics, she did not want to take any pressure.
“People expect me to win. They want me to do well but finally on the court I am playing. So I want to play for myself first, and then think of others.”
Sania is not bothered too much about the rankings.
“If I play well I will be number one some day. If I am in great shape and if I am in rhythm, I am sure I will be number one. I don’t care about the ranking.”
Saina said she was little tense playing the Thailand Open because the India Open was not so good for her. However, as the tournament progressed, her confidence level increased.
Saina, who won the Indonesian Open for the third time, enjoys playing in that country.
“I feel like a champion when I enter the Indonesian courts. I don’t know why.”
She loves the atmosphere in Jakarta, especially the crowd support. The spectators cheer for her even if she plays against Indonesian players.