HYDERABAD: The higher the stakes, the greater the motivation to perform. Saina Nehwal says it's this simple mantra that helped her recover so quickly from the bout of chicken pox that nearly threatened her chances of competing at the World badminton championships.
"I'm back to being the same player I was before the infection. I feel no tiredness during training. I'm fully fit and ready to play my first match," the Indian teen said with confidence on Tuesday, the eve of her opener against Russia's Anastasia Prokopenko.
Saina, who would be facing Prokopenko for the first time, said she had no idea about the Russian's style of play. Interestingly, the sixth-seeded Indian could've gotten a fair idea of her opponent a day before the match as the Russian was playing on the parallel court to Taufik Hidayat, whose match Saina watched for a while.
"I came to the stadium to collect my racquets. Taufik's my hero and I watched the last few minutes of the match. I didn't know Anastasia was playing at the same time.
"It really doesn't bother me. I'm not the sort who sits and analyses opponents by watching video tapes. I like to work on my strategies on the court," said the World No. 6.
Saina knows the Russian would pose no challenge, but the Indonesian Super Series winner said the first match would be crucial. "It's a big event. I've been training in full swing but I will get to assess my fitness only when I'm on court
tomorrow," she said.
The 23-year-old Prokopenko, who speaks very little English, admitted it would be a very difficult match. "I will have to do a lot of running. She's one of the top players in the world," said the Russian who also loves to play volleyball.