New Delhi: London Olympic bronze medallist, Saina Nehwal feels she needs to be more "confident" and improve her fitness to battle the challenges of a hectic season that will test her mentally.
"I am playing well. For the next tournaments, I will get time to be fully fit. But whatever time I got after All England and Swiss Open, I tried to correct those mistakes and came here. I think right now I can say, I have to be more confident and more alert on court," said the 24-year-old from Hyderabad.
"I need more preparations and have to get more fitter to get ready for the big events like Asian Games and all because those will be more challenging and it will be a test each and every match because there will be a lot of expectations also.
"My main targets will be to do well in Asian Games and commonwealth Games," added the world number eight, who reached the quarterfinals of the ongoing Indian Super Series after beating Thailand`s Natcha Saengchote 21-15 21-12 at the Siri Fort Sports Complex today.
Asked if she is relieved to finally reach the first quarterfinals of the Indian Open in last four years, Saina said: "It is not about playing quarters and semis, I always look to win all tournaments. It is not about breaking any jinx. I just hope I win this time, I can just play my best, rest is on God`s hand."
It is a very important year for international badminton as top tournaments such as the Asian games, Commonwealth Games and World Championship are all scheduled this season and Saina said it will be mentally draining.
"Since these year all the three big events are in one year, it will be a big test mentally not physically so much. I feel it will test be mentally more," she said.
After enduring a tough 2013, Saina started the season with a win in Syed Modi International tournament and then reached the quarters of All England and Swiss Open and the Indian ace is confident a title win is just round the corner.
"The six months I think it has been really good because I have been training hard and I am just waiting for a win and I am sure that win will come soon," said the Commonwealth Games gold medallist.
Plagued by injuries and poor form, Saina slipped from
world number two to eight and the Indian said she will break into the top 5 soon.
"I am playing well, I was nowhere when I started playing badminton. And now I am world number eight and it is not easy to be at the top for so many years. I am just trying to get back into top 5, I know it is not going to be easy but I somehow feel I can get into top 5 soon," she said.
The Indian will take on world number two Chinese Yihan Wang in the quarterfinals of the India Open. Saina has lost seven times to the Chinese and the only victory against her came in the Denmark Open in 2012.
Asked about her match against Yihan, Saina said: "Tomorrow`s game will be tougher against Yihan. She is a very strong player, she has been doing well for so many years. It is always tough to play against these Chinese players. I just hope my movements and strokes goes well and I have to more confident, she will be very aggressive, so I have to be really ready tomorrow."
World number 24 Parupalli Kashyap too reached the quarterfinals after beating compatriot R M V Gurusaidutt 21-15 16-21 21-11 in the men`s singles second round and the Indian said he needs to maintain his confidence.
"I had already said that I feel confident after the Swiss Open. So it was satisfying. I am a player of that calibre who can reach the quarters and semis of a Super Series event. I just need to maintain this confidence and get some good wins under my belt," he said.
Kashyap will be facing world number one Lee Chong Wei in the quarterfinals and the Indian said he needs to tighten his defence against the two-time Olympic silver medallist.
"After the Olympics, I had played him in the French Open. I lost to him in two close games. Tomorrow it will be a big challenge for me. I need to be solid in my defence. He is a fast player so I should be up to control his speed," he said.
"Of late, Cheng Long is the one who had beaten him a couple of times. So he can actually say that Chong Wei is beatable but not me. I will try my best," he signed off.