Not far from being the World No.1: Saina


New Delhi: India’s badminton star Saina Nehwal said her decision to play in select international tournaments has worked wonders for her and the day is not far when she will be the World Number One.

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Saina, currently ranked sixth, said she was now participating in limited tournaments and is more focussed on winning titles.

The 20-year-old is the top seed in Badminton Asia Championships beginning here Monday and is supremely confident.

“I am playing in selected tournaments now and it has worked well for me. It is giving me adequate time to train and also spend quality time with my family. So when I go back to courts, I am fresh, focussed and well prepared to face the top players and the aim is to win every tournament,” Saina told reporters here Saturday.

“This year the focus is to do well in the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. If I continue like this, I can be soon be the number one, hopefully.”

Saina, who will play Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertsuk in the opening round, said playing at home will be an advantage. But there will also be pressure on her to live upto the expectations.

“Even the world’s top player is under pressure to win every match. I think pressure will always be there when you are a top seed. The draw is tough. As of now, I am focussing only on the first match. I have trained really hard and I am quite confident of performing well.

“I am in good shape, probably the best in my career so far. The last four-five months have been good for me. I reached the semi-finals of All England Championship. My game has also improved a lot.

“It will be a tough competition. Players like Zhou Mi and Pui Yin Yip from Hong Kong will be strong contenders.”

Saina also said that the Indian team was high on confidence ahead of the tournament.

“The Indian players have had some good results recently and they will hopefully do well here. Jwala Gutta and V. Diju have got the top billing in mixed doubles and they have a relatively easier draw, so I think they have a good chance of going up in the tournament.”

Saina, however, said the media should give more coverage to badminton.

“We are doing so well as a team and this is the right time for the sport to get attention and grow in the country. If the young players do not get sponsorship now, it will be difficult for them to go to the next level.”