Commonwealth Games 2018: Have A Healthy Rivalry With PV Sindhu, Says Saina Nehwal
The win also meant that the 28-year-old Saina won all her 12 matches in Gold Coast to remain unbeaten in the tournament.
- Saina had also won the title in 2010 in New Delhi
- Saina won all her 12 matches to remain unbeaten in the tournament
- Saina defeated Sindhu in the final of the national championships
Saina Nehwal became the first Indian to win two singles golds at the Commonwealth Games after defeating PV Sindhu 21-18, 23-21 in a high-octane final in the women's singles on Sunday. Saina had also won the title in 2010 in New Delhi. The win also meant that the 28-year-old won all her 12 matches in Gold Coast to remain unbeaten in the tournament. Saina, who missed the last edition in Glasgow, where Sindhu won bronze, placed her gold in the event right up with her Olympic bronze of 2012. "I really term it as next to my Olympic medal and my world No.1 ranking. So I would keep it somewhere there. It's a gift to my father and my mother, my country. It's a very emotional moment for me after the disappointing loss in Rio due to injury," second seed Saina said after her win.
Saina had won two of their three career meetings and had also defeated Sindhu in the final of the national championships last year.
"It was a neck to neck game for me, it was even tougher because I have been playing for the last 10-12 days. She is tall, she has longer legs and covers the court better than me, I have to run here and there," Saina said of her rival and teammate.
"I lost five kgs in the last few months, that helps you move faster," she added.
"The shin problem happened in the team event and I am playing with that," she revealed when asked about the bandage she was sporting even though it hardly impacted her execution of shots.
"It is not much of a problem, just two-three days of recovery is required. My match against Kirsty Gilmour went on for a long while and probably I aggravated the problem a bit," she said.
Asked if playing against Sindhu in a big final like today was more of a mental battle than anything else, Saina kept it simple.
"You just have to play your game, it's a healthy rivalry, people enjoy it, no doubt we are under tremendous pressure. But I am happy to be pulling these off. It's not easy to play against someone who is ranked No.3 in the world now," she said.
"It's a challenging match for me. I would like to thank Gopi sir for pushing me in the last three-four months and Christopher, my physio, who is working hard on my body. I was facing a lot of injuries on my shin, ankle and he came up and gave me a very good rehab program which is helping my leg strength," she said.
"... the rallies were going long, she was picking up all the shots well. I am happy that I could pull off the bigger rallies. I have never played two weeks back to back so definitely it is one of my most exhausting campaigns," she said.
It was yet another final loss for Sindhu, who is now being criticised for not being able to pull off high-pressure games.
However, Saina defended her teammate.
"It happens in tough situations, it has happened to me as well. You can't write like that about any player. Today, I fought well. I didn't attack much because my stamina was finishing. I just wanted to finish off rallies. She was doing very well in rallies too," she said.
(With PTI Inputs)