Singapore: Shuttler Saina Nehwal's inconsistency on the international front is nothing but a consequence of her being India's only current badminton star, believes former World and three-time Thomas Cup champion Xiong Guobao.
Guobao, now a coach and well known researcher of the game, said the pressure on World No 4 Saina is too much to handle.
"She is a very good player but she has become so famous now that back home there are a lot of expectations from her. That's the reason she has not been doing well of late," said Guobao, on the sidelines of the global launch of sports equipment manufacturing company Thwack, a part of One Sports Group.
Moments after introducing a revolutionary concept in badminton racquets, particularly the grip aspect, Guobao spoke of the impact ofbadminton on China and vice versa.
"Firstly, badminton is not considered a sport in China, simple because people all across the country take to it as a cheap, effective and entertaining means of recreation.
"Seeing elders playing, inspire kids to take up the sport and then they get hooked on to it and only then it becomes a competitive sport. That's the secret to China's domination in the sport," said Guobao.
However, he felt that if there's one country that has the potential to catch up with and eventually overhaul China in the game, it is India. "Indians are doing well and they have a good chance of beating Chinese players, but not in the immediate future... sometime later. India needs to develop more and more players.
"Currently, someone like Saina does not even have a good competitive player to train and compete with, that's why her success is limited.
"But I'm sure she and India will improve hereon," he signed off.