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Saina Nehwal rues lack of quality women's singles players in Indian badminton

Saina Nehwal, the London Olympics bronze medallist, said India will require another four to five years to produce a high-calibre women's singles player.

Saina Nehwal BAI Selection Trials

FILE PHOTO: Star Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal. (Photo credit: AFP)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 13 Oct 2023 8:12 AM GMT

Badminton stalwart Saina Nehwal rued the absence of quality women's singles players in Indian badminton.

"There is a huge difference between Sindhu, myself and the present lot," Saina was quoted as saying by Times of India.

The London Olympics bronze medallist said India will require another four to five years to produce a high-calibre player.

"I think it will take another four to five years to get another women's singles player of that calibre," said Saina, who is currently mentoring budding players at Badminton Pros, a coaching facility in Hyderabad.

PV Sindhu is currently India's top-ranked women's singles player at 13th, while Aakarshi Kashyap is India's second-best-ranked player at 41st.

The shuttler, however, does not have any wish to become a professional coach. "Coaching is not my forte. According to me, it is tougher than playing. I can only be a mentor and not a coach," she said.

Saina, the woman who achieved many firsts for Indian badminton, said the current lot of Indian women's singles players lack all-round games.

"Me and Sindhu are attacking players. We need to possess some kind of an attack but the girls I know are only rally players. Playing rallies is good but you need to have an all-round game to win at the international level," she added.

Saina, however, is happy with the progress of the next generation of men's singles players.

"In men's singles we have players like Lakshya Sen and Priyanshu Rajawat. They are playing at the level of Prannoy and Srikanth. That is how you need to be. Our girls also should play like An Se Young or Akane Yamaguchi," she said.

Saina, 33, is still uncertain of a comeback on the World Tour due to a recurring knee injury.

"I love the game I want to carry on playing but the knee is troubling. Even today I can go out and play but when you play, you have to win. As of now, I am still struggling with the knee. If it recovers I will start playing again. There will be one day when my body tells me to stop," Saina signed off.

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