Hyderabad: Her narrow losses in various tournaments notwithstanding, ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal says she had a reasonably good year considering the injuries that plagued her.
"Last year (2010) was fantastic, I am very happy with those victories. This year, it was kind of tough for me because, I came back from ankle injury. But still, I managed to play four finals and I reached the semi-finals of Japan Open," Saina said.
"I think the performance this year has been fantastic. It is just that I could not win those tournaments and I lost in the finals. So, people think that this is disappointing. But I played really well," she said.
She lost in the finals of season-ending World Super Series in China despite being a game up, but Saina said she was pleased with her effort.
"I am very happy that I finished it with a very good tournament, won good matches and in the finals also it was tough. It was a little bit of strategy problem but I think I played really well in the Super Series finals," she said.
Asked what led to her narrow losses in various competitions this year and adverse reactions from some quarters, the world No 4 said, "People talk but I think this is my game. I'm playing for my happiness and my work is to get medals for my country and make people happy. But it is not that they may comment on me. It is not right.
"Finally, it is my duty, my job. I suffered from lot of injuries this year. That was the only case.
"People talk and I really don't worry about it. Somethings happen in your life, whether it is personal or professional. It just happens, you never know what is going to happen next. But everything went on well after some time. Again, we are doing well, we are trying to improve in every aspect. I hope next year should be even better," she said.
Asked about the high expectations from her to win a medal in the Olympics, Saina said she wanted to remain calm and focused on her game.
"Plans will start slowly. After April, we will get lot of time. From then on, we will try to be more relaxed mentally and physically also, we will get lot of time," Saina said.
She, however, said every super series event is as big as Olympics for her.
"It's ok. It comes every four years. Every year we have so many tournaments in a year. We don't see Olympics as the only big tournament. Every Super Series is big tournament for us," she said.
Noting that she has recovered from her ankle injury during the year, Saina said she is feeling fit and strong now.
"I had one ankle injury this year. Right now, I am feeling strong and fit," she said.
Next year is not going to be easy, as several important tournaments like the Korean Open, Malaysian Open, All England Championships are lined up followed by the Olympics but Saina is undaunted.
"A tough year because of the Olympics. First two tournaments are going to be Korean Open and Malaysian Open. Then the Uber Cup in February, All England and Swiss Open.
"Every month we will have one, two tournaments. Very little time for preparation. It is all about maintaining the ranking and winning some good matches. From April, we will get good time to train for the Olympics," she said.
Asked about her preparations for next year, she said: "We don't have enough time to think of so much. The mistake I did in the last tournament, that needs to be corrected in the short time. We can only do that now. We cannot work much on endurance, speed etc.
"Once I get three months or one month then we can plan something. Gopi sir (national coach Pullela Gopichand) will plan. I have something in mind, like I need to improve my speed, I need to improve my net movement, all these things I have it in mind. Obviously, more things Gopi sir will have to decide".