Saina Nehwal has said her comments on badminton great Taufik Hidayat were misunderstood and she didn't mean to offend the Indonesian great.
After the world No. 4 was criticized by Jwala Gutta for "disrespecting" the former world and Olympic champion, Saina reportedly said: "Taufik is like family to me. Nobody can be like him and achieve what he has got." Both Saina and Hidayat are part of the Hyderabad Hotshots team in the Indian Badminton League.
Jwala had hit out at Saina for her comments that Hidayat should accept the reality that he is a retired player and cannot get highest base price in IBL.
Hidayat had complained of unfair treatment to foreign players by the league's organisers. Hidayat was bought for USD 15,000 at his base price and the 32-year-old former star felt he deserved much more.
Saina, however, said Hidayat should realize that he was a retired player, a comment which did not amuse Jwala. "Taufik Hidayat is one of the greatest players....and I don't think u can dismiss his views just because he has "retired" from the game!!!!," wrote Jwala, who plays for Delhi franchise in IBL, on her twitter page.
"I don't know how anyone can talk about him in such manner......without giving him and his stature any respect...it's absolutely sad!!!!," she said.
Jwala did not name Saina in her series of tweets on the issue but in an apparent reference to the Hyderabadi, she said that she should understand Hidayat's concern. "No matter how big u have become in sport I think one should try and ustand what ur fellow players views r And work on it!!!," she tweeted.
"Nobody can take away his achievements....just because he's RETIRED!!!! He is and will always be one of the greatest badminton player!!!!
"And again it's not about money....it's about RESPECT!!!!!"
Hidayat had earlier this week expressed unhappiness on the treatment he got from organisers during the auction, saying it was his first and last IBL as Indian players were given preference for high price than the foreign players.
Saina has certainly tried to do some damage control. Saying she never expected such hostile reaction, Saina said: "I respect Taufik a lot and keep respecting him always. I have nothing against hm."