Saina Nehwal happy under Vimal Kumar’s tutelage

Saina Nehwal has dropped enough hints to suggest that her split with chief national coach P Gopichand is for real. The World No. 5 is happy training with Vimal Kumar. She believes her game has improved in recent weeks.

Saina Nehwal happy under Vimal Kumar’s tutelage

“I went to Vimal sir to improve my game. I have been training with Gopi sir for over 10 years now and it was just that I wanted to change a few things, like the way I am playing my matches. It’s been going on very well,” Nehwal said, adding, “Of course, you need some more time to win matches. I am World No. 5 now and have been consistent with my game. I just need that one (tournament) win and everything will be fine. It’s not far away.”

However, the star shuttler supported the Union sports ministry’s latest diktat that “a player must represent the country in all big tournaments in order to receive the government’s assistance”.

“I don’t think anyone would not want play for the country. Sometimes, you can’t ignore that there is an injury or a player goes through some difficult situation. Otherwise, I am sure everyone would want to play for the country and for the pride of the nation,” Nehwal on the sidelines of an event organised by Usha at the Delhi Golf Club.

The ministry’s diktat came after tennis players Leander Paes, Somdev Devvarman and Rohan Bopanna skipped the Incheon Asian Games in order to garner ATP ranking points.

Though Nehwal refused to talk about an individual, she insisted that “it’s not about prize money or ranking points, it’s always about your country”.

“I can only talk about myself and, for me, it is very important to play for the country. Even when it comes to a prize money event, you don’t go there just as a player. You play at the state level, national level and, finally, you reach the international level. So at that level, you only play for the country,” the London Olympic bronze medallist said.

Nehwal is happy with the way her season has gone. “I won two titles this year (India Open and Australian Open). Obviously, the players I lost to were the top three Chinese. Nobody else has defeated me this year. One good win and I am sure things will be better. I need more time to improve my game,” Nehwal said.

“The Chinese are extremely fit. It’s not easy to beat them and win titles. I am the only one who gives them a tough fight. I am just waiting for that one win. In the French Open, it was close game in quarterfinals, I was 15-7 up (against Wang Shixian). I don’t lose such kind of matches, but I have to learn from such mistakes and keep working hard.”