India’s star badminton player Saina Nehwal, at the age of 30, has pledged that she is not leaving the stage as of yet. On Saturday, Nehwal said she’s ‘definitely in the race for the Tokyo Olympics’ but also added that she is working to become match ready for the lined up tournaments ahead of the world event.
A former World No.1, Nehwal is currently ranked 20 in BWF and has been struggling with injuries and consequential lack of form of late. Nehwal will make her comeback in professional badminton during the BWF Asian Tour which has been postponed to January 2021.
“I know Olympics is in everyone’s head. It’s something very big but before that you have to think about so many tournaments. I’ve to get back to my rhythm and win against the players who are in top-20,” Nehwal said in a virtual interactive session hosted by the Indian Chamber of Commerce.
“There’s some two-three months’ of training before that. You have to be perfectly fine and play seven-eight tournaments, after that only I will think about the Olympics. But yes, I’m definitely in the race. I want to do well and I’m working hard for that.”
Citing the examples of Tennis stars Roger Feder, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams, Saina said she derives inspiration from these stars aged 30+ and are still going on in their field.
“I can see great examples in Djokovic, Federer, Nadal, Serena doing so well. Why not you have to see how it goes? I’m a fighter and I will get back. When he can do it, why can’t I? Yes, there were times when I felt I have to ‘stop playing’ and ‘I can’t win anymore’. But then I thought I could push it,” she added.
“I love to fight. What will I do sitting at home. This is my life, this is my job.”
A bronze medallist for India in the 2012 London Olympics, Nehwal had recently pulled out of the Denmark Open.
“I’m doing well. Injuries play a big role and that happened to me. As of now, I feel good. I can do it, I can be the best in the world. It’s always been there in my head. I’ve to correct my niggles. Improvement is definitely happening. Let’s how I play. I don’t want to take that action suddenly. I want to see how badly I lose, if I’m not capable of playing anymore,” she concluded.