Performance not pressure is what matters, feels Saina Nehwal
New Delhi: For Saina Nehwal, it is all about putting up consistent performance in the upcoming India Open Super Series rather than getting cowed down by the pressure of playing in front of her home crowd.
"Pressure is always there. But it is not about pressure only. It is about how I play in the tournament and on a particular match day," Saina said on the eve of the USD 200,000 event.
In the absence of top Chinese shuttlers, Saina has been seeded number one and handed a relatively easy draw in the women`s singles.
She is not expected to be challenged much before the semifinals, where she is likely to meet world no. 8, Thailand`s Ratchanok Intanon, who had recently beaten her in the semi-final of the All England Championships.
But Saina insisted that none of her opponents would be easy to deal with.
"It is going to be really tough. There are so many top players in the tournament. It all depends on how well you are prepared that day. All I can say is I will try my best.
Trying to shrug off the complacency factor, Saina said that she can`t take her first round oppponent lightly.
"My first round opponent -- the Indonesian (Belaetrix Manuputi) will be tough. The Chinese or the Japanese girls in the subsequent rounds are also pretty good. As far as Intanon is concerned, she played very well in the last two matches I faced her. I will have to watch her videos carefully before taking her on," Saina said at the pre-tournament press conference Monday.
Saina said that she was happy with her form this year.
"I am happy with my results this year. I have been playing consistently and have been regularly reaching the semifinals or finals. I think that`s good," she assessed.
Asked how much gap is there between her and the Chinese shuttlers, Saina explained,"It is not easy to break the Chinese wall. Even if you do well in one tournament, in the next they will again dominate. It is not easy to beat them time and again. You have to be really consistent to be winning. In one competition, you see the gap reducing but in the next, it again increases.
"Game wise, there is not much of a difference. In some tournaments, you do well but in others, they come better prepared. There are so many players...Someone or the other keeps coming up the ranks and performs well."
The 23-year-old said that after winning the bronze medal at the Olympics in London last year, only thing she had worked on was her knees.
"Post Olympics the only thing I have worked on was my knee. It is much better now and hopefully will be playing without the tape in this competition."
On whether she has any regrets on not being able to win the All England Championship till now, Saina said, "For me Olympic medal was the one I wanted to achieve. I was lucky to have the Olympic medal. I have playing in the semifinals twice in All-England championship and in also in quarters. It somehow didn`t happen."
Talking about rising star PV Sindhu, Saina said that the youngster was doing well but needed little more improvement.
"Sindhu is doing well. She has shown a lot of improvement. Her recent performances have also been impressive. In fact, first few years, it is expected to be good and then it will be difficult to maintain. She needs a little more strength," she said.