Saina Nehwal felicitated after returning home

Updated: Jun 19, 2012, 10:49 AM IST

Zeenews Sports Bureau

Hyderabad: Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal who returned home after claiming a third Indonesian Open title was felicitated by the Andhra Pradesh government here on Tuesday.

Prior to her victory over Chinese Li Xueri in the Indonesian Open final she had also emerged victorious in Thai Open as well and the Hyderabadi girl expressed her happiness over the win right before London Olympics.

“I am here because of my co-players who have given me such wonderful practice. It has been a great boost for me before Olympics beating top players. I am very happy to have won Indonesian and Thailand Open,” she said while speaking to the media.

The World no 5 said her win will inspire the young shuttlers to excel in international events.

“It will give confidence to youngsters that they can also excel in the sport. I believe that badminton will become one of the top Indian sports in future,” she said.

Li Xueri, the world no 3, was on a 30-match winning streak since the Uber Cup in February during which she claimed four titles that included All England Badminton Championships.

Nehwal ended her run winning 13-21, 22-20, 21-19 in an hour and four minutes on Sunday.

Asked about the pressure of expectations in Olympics, Saina said, "Olympics is Olympics and pressure will always be there. So, I don't want to think about it."

Saina also refused to give much importance to world rankings, saying that winning titles is what matters for her.

"Rankings hardly matter to me. I know if I play well, I will be number one someday. Winning tournaments matters for me," the Hyderabadi insisted.

Saina also rated the energy-sapping one hour and 36 minutes quarter-final duel against Shixian in Indonesia Open as the one of the toughest matches of her career.

"The quarter-final match itself was a memorable one. We were all dead on the court. But, I'm glad I pulled off the match.

"It was probably the longest match in the history of women's singles. It was undoubtedly the longest match of my career. It was a three-setter and the win really gave me confidence," she said.

For Saina, Jakarta has been a happy hunting ground as she has played in four consecutive finals of Indonesia Open, winning three of them.

"I feel like a champion when I enter Indonesia's courts. Jakarta is lucky for me as I have won so many matches there," she said.

Saina also thanked her family, coach Gopichand, Andhra Pradesh Sports Minister Vasanth Kumar, Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda, among others for their continued support.

With PTI inputs