New Delhi: National coach Pullela Gopichand on Saturday categorically stated he harbours no hard feelings for Saina Nehwal in an interview to the Times of India.
The current women’s world number one badminton player split with Gopichand and moved to Bengaluru to work under Vimal Kumar.
“It’s a fantastic achievement and it’s really good what she has achieved. This leaves her with the expectation to do even better. I can definitely say that she is playing better. Of course, you can debate that last year, she won the Australian Open defeating Carolina and registered other good performances. Today is the time to celebrate her feat. She is World No. 1 and I’m very happy for her. If going to Vimal has made this difference to her game, I have no problems with that,” Gopichand told TOI.
It is no secret that Saina’s performance has shown a marked improvement after she changed her coach. Post her historic silver medal at the recently concluded World Championships in Jakarta, the 25-year-old was signed by a sports management group for Rs 25 crore as part of a 2-year-deal.
“Badminton today is a different ball game. There is more exposure to the sport. Earlier, people used to take notice of our results only if we made the finals of a particular event. Sometimes our results were reported after the end of the tournament. These days, there’s a preview getting published. The television viewership and the number of people following the game have grown manifold.
Obviously, the players’ performances have been the primary reason for it and I am very happy to see all this happen. It strengthens badminton’s commercial viability, which is very good. It will further motivate players to do well and prompt new guys to take up the sport,” Gopi further added.