New Delhi: India`s star doubles exponent Jwala Gutta hasn`t tasted much success after returning from a seven-month long sabbatical following the London Olympics and she is a bit "nervous" to start in the Indian Badminton League (IBL), which she reckons will be a "comeback" tournament.
"It is a kind of comeback to the real competition. It’s been long. Before IBL, I didn`t go to tournaments with much expectations. But here I am expecting a lot from myself. I am much fitter than I was even before the Olympics. I am a little nervous as there would be real competition and it is a sort of comeback," Jwala, who will lead the Krrish Delhi Smashers in the two-week event, said.
"I have lost around 12 kgs since I started training in April. I am on strict diet. I cut off carbs as I could not change my training. I had to ensure that I don`t get injured. Now I am fitter, lighter and feeling fresh," added the Icon player after the team`s practice at Siri Fort stadium.
Jwala, who won the bronze medal at the 2011 World Championships, had taken a break after the London Olympics and was back at the court at the All England championship. She played in India Open, Indonesia and Singapore Super Series, partnering Prajakta Sawant, but without any success.
However, she will be leading the Krrish Delhi Smashers against Pune Pistons on Wednesday in their inaugural IBL match and Jwala said she is confident of her team.
"I feel we have a lot of potential. Doubles is our strength but sadly there are just two doubles matches. We have a lot of potential. Darren Liew is a good player and I would not underestimate him. Even Sai Praneeth is a team player," she said.
"In women`s singles also Jindapon Nichaon is a good player, she had given Saina Nehwal good competition at the Thailand Open last year," Jwala added.
The 29-year-old from Hyderabad believes the new format in the IBL will make it an exciting tournament, throwing some interesting results.
"The format is different and anybody can win in this format and we have a good team. We played the format today at the practice. The shorter the game, the faster it becomes. It is going to be more aggressive and fast badminton," said the Commonwealth Games gold medallist.
"Even if it is Lee Chong Wei, we can pull it off in this format. Even if one is 7-0, one can turn the tables. The game can change. Of course it can go against us also, so it is going to be tricky."
Asked who she would be partnering in the mixed doubles competition, Jwala said: "I am not sure about my partner at this moment. Diju or one of the Malaysian guy. I am okay with any one of them."
Regarding her international career, Jwala, who had been playing with Prajakta since April after the latter was named in the Indian squad following a court`s order, hinted that she might look for a new women`s partner.
"I am happy I could guide her in the right direction and help her in some way. But I can`t say much about long term plan now. There is a chance of having another partner. Talks are on and let`s see what happens," she said.
Asked about her mixed doubles career, Jwala said that she is playing with Manu Attri and hoped to make an impact soon.
"He is a good player. He commits less mistakes than me. He also has a good attitude. He is more like me and I know within 4-5 tournaments we will make a good impact. I have sent the entry for the Japan Open and I hope I play well."
Jwala, who became National champion 13 times till 2010, said the discrimination against doubles player should end.
"There is no acknowledgement of doubles players. The attitude towards doubles should change. Me and Ashwini Ponnappa also won bronze at the World Championships and I don`t know why it is not big enough like when a singles player win. Why isn`t it important? Why it is not appreciated? Why there is so much discrimination?," she asked.
"I am happy for Srikanth and P V Sindhu. It is great but I too won Grand Prix golds but it hurts when as a player one is not acknowledged," Jwala pointed out.