Injury not the reason for Saina`s exit, says Gopichand

National coach Pullela Gopichand exuded confidence that the ace shuttler will make a strong comeback in the upcoming Malaysian Open.

Last Updated: Apr 28, 2011, 19:19 PM IST

New Delhi: National coach Pullela Gopichand on Thursday made it clear that injury had nothing to do with top seed Saina Nehwal`s first round exit from the Indian Open Super Series and exuded confidence that the ace shuttler will make a strong comeback in the upcoming Malaysian Open.

"It was just an off day for her, it can happen to anyone. Whatever, she was doing was going the wrong way. She is very disappointed with the loss. She was not moving well on the court. But I don`t think her injury had anything to do with her defeat," Gopichand told reporters.

"I think she will come up in a big way in the Malaysian Open," he insisted after Saina crashed out in the first round of the ongoing India Open after losing 17-21 19-21 to Japan`s Ai Goto on Wednesday.

Saina was struggling to cope up with a right ankle injury ahead of the Indian Open. She will now compete in the Malaysian Open starting May 3 in Alor Setar, Malaysia.

The 2001 All England champion, Gopichand feels the senior shuttlers should have played to their potential but expressed happiness with the performance of the youngsters.

Young guns such as Sourabh Verma and RMV Gurusai Datt have made heads turn with their stunning performance in the tournament, beating top level players to enter the quarterfinals and Gopichand said they have the self belief to play at the highest level.
"I am happy that the youngsters have come up in a big way. The most important thing is that they have got the belief of playing well in the higher bracket. They never looked inferior rather they looked good.”

"Though they are still far away to reach the level of someone like Saina or Jwala (Gutta), I think the young brigade have done superbly. The senior should have played to their full potential as this is big tournament," he said.

"Prannoy and Sai Praneeth have the potential to go far. They were world number three and four in the junior rankings and they will improve in the coming years. Also, Guru and Sourabh are playing well," Gopichand added.
Praneeth and Prannoy also had entered the main draw of the India Open Super Series.

15-year-old PV Sindhu also came in for special praise from the national coach.

"Sindhu was playing eighth seed Salakjit Ponsana and lost 21-19, 22-20. Sindhu is only 15 and she was matching her opponent stroke-by-stroke. That shows her potential," Gopichand said.