I am back to my best, says Saina Nehwal

PTI| Updated: Jan 28, 2014, 20:13 PM IST

Hyderabad: After ending her prolonged title drought, Saina Nehwal today avowed that she was back to her best and that she would play select tournaments this year to be in good shape ahead of major tournaments this year -- Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.

Saina beat talented compatriot PV Sindhu in the final to clinch Indian Open, last week.

"It feels great. Last year was not really up to the mark in terms of many things. But, it is a good start this year. Malaysian Open also, I played really well. I could see the difference in my game. But India Open was really great. I finally pulled off such a big tournament," Saina said after returning to city from Lucknow.

"It (final) was a very good match. She (Sindhu) has been playing good. Playing against her such a good match, was really great. I think I am back to my best, just that I have to maintain and come back to even better shape for the even bigger tournaments next month.

"Right now, the important aspect is to stay fit, train as much as possible. I would like to play less tournaments if possible. I want to take care of my body, which was not very supportive last year. I had few injuries last year. I want to take care of my body well. Play well and win most of the tournaments. That is what is important now," she said.

Saina said winning close matches during the Indian Open brought her confidence back.

"It is a great confidence booster, because I lost very close matches to lot of top players. Finally, in India Open, I got that one point of break against Chinese player. I was losing to them 21-19 and 21-19. Finally, I won this match 21-19. That gave me a lot of confidence," she said.

Saina also thanked her mentor and Chief National Coach Pullela Gopichand for the way he planned and trained her in the run-up to the India Open in Lucknow.

"He was the one who believed again that I can be my best. Before the starting of the tournament, he told mediapersons expect Saina to win. That`s what happened. The belief which he had in me was great. I really thank him for the good training he gave me before the start of the tournament. Hope next month also goes on well before the big tournaments like All England and Swiss Open," she said.

Asked about playing against Sindhu, she said she was like any other opponent for her.

"I think playing at the international level is not easy. I play lot of tough opponents every day. Even Sindhu is another opponent for me. Of course, she is from India and same academy. But for me, when I play any one on the court it is just another opponent.

"Sindhu is doing very well. I want to congratulate her for her performances. I hope many other Indians come forward and do good for India. I am happy with the way I played. There are still tournaments to go this year. I want to keep working hard for that," she said.

Replying to a query, she said she would not like to skip any important tournament but play two at a time as she needs to stay mentally and physically fit for the Asian Games and Commonwealth.

Asked about her preparations for the big tournaments, she said, "I think I am feeling quite good fitness-wise. But, you never know. Every tournament is different. You just have to be focussed and be fit. All girls are giving good competition. I have to be careful and do good quality training. Gopi sir is going to plan to good training. Let`s see how it goes," she said.