India's top mixed doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and V Diju will not participate in the India Open Super Series as the latter will undergo a minor surgery to get rid of his troubled back.
Diju, who has been suffering from a recurring back problem for the last one year, has finally decided to go for a minor key hole surgery to regain complete fitness and would miss the April 26-May 1 tournament, the first Super Series in the country.
"We won't be able to play in India Open as Diju has to undergo a minor key hole surgery. He has been having problems with his back for quite sometime and we decided it is the right time to go for the operation. It is sad that we won't be able to play at home but his health is a priority," one half of the mixed doubles pair, Jwala told PTI.
The duo had won the India Open, when it was a Grand Prix Gold event, last year in Chennai.
"Diju is very tall, and so playing badminton always puts pressure on the lower back. It plays on your mind when you are not completely fit so once the surgery is over, we will be back with a bang," she added
The world number 19 India pair, who were seeded sixth in the tournament, however, will be back in action in June.
"We will be playing our next tournament in June as one month's gap is good enough time to recover and we will come out stronger and would be inside the top 10 by this year end," said Jwala.
The 27-year-old Hyderabadi shuttler is, however, excited about playing in the women's doubles category and hopes to repeat their Commonwealth Games gold medal feat at the familiar Sri Fort sports complex.
"Me and Ashwini have been playing well. Even in the Commonwealth Games, we had the most fieriest competition and we overcame that to win the gold. So we hope to do well in the India Open too," said Jwala, who along with Ashwini had finished runners-up in the women's doubles event of the India Open Grand Prix Gold last year.
"I haven't seen the draw as it doesn't matter. At the end of the day, we need to win every match, whosoever it might be, so for me the first round is as important as the final," Jwala added.
Eighth seeds Jwala and Ashwini have got a bye in the first round and will take on the winner of Eei Hui Chin and Pei Tty Wong of Malaysia and India pair of PC Thulasi and Sikki Reddy.
"We have the home advantage and I hope to deliver once again in front of the Delhi crowd," said Jwala, who would be reaching here on Sunday.
Badminton Giants China are not participating in the India Open this time as they are busy with prior engagements such as the Asian Badminton Championship but Jwala said it doesn't make the competition any easier as the Indonesians, Koreans and Japanese are also very good, especially in the doubles category.
"I know a lot of people will feel, since there are no Chinese players this time, it will be easier but believe me the competition will be extremely tough. Countries such as Indonesia, Korea, Japan have improved by leaps and bounds and they are dominating, especially doubles category. But we are prepared," she said.
"We are confident about our game and the way we are playing, I hope me and Ashwini will break into the top 10 by year end," she said.
Jwala also felt a Super Series tournament will give a boost to the game in India but said more local All-India tournaments would help the young breed of players to take the game.
"It will be a great exposure for the young players as they will learn were they stand at the international level and accordingly they can work on their game. But all players cannot participate in Super Series tournaments so for the youngsters, I think more local level all India tournaments should be held more," she signed off.