Mumbai: Saina Nehwal might be still recovering from a shoulder pain but coach Vimal Kumar is confident of her performance at the World Championships as he feels the Indian ace is “mentally tougher” than other girls who are “unpredictable”.
“Her (Saina) rivals are good players and very unpredictable, but Saina is mentally tougher than them. She also doing physically well. These factors should help her to do well in the World Championships,” Kumar said.
Former chief national coach, Kumar said the World Championship will be an interesting and open battle because the Chinese girls, who were dominating the world stage, have not been successful for the last ten months.
“This World Championship will be an open and interesting battle because the Chinese girls have not been successful for the last ten months,” he said.
“In the last one year – after the Asian Games – majority of the international games were won by four girls – Saina, Carolina Marin (Spain), Tai Tzu-ying (Chinese Taipei) and Ratchanok Intanon (Thailand) – these are the four girls that really dominated,” he added.
Talking about the draw, Kumar said: “Saina has worked hard but it is a tough draw for her, because she is likely to face Japan’s Takahashi in the prequarters and in the next stage, China’s Wang Yihan.
“All the top players are expected to give tough fight as they had five to six weeks of time for preparing for the big event. She has to take one match at a time.”
“I don’t want her to think too much on World Championship, but treat this tournament as super series ties. If she does this it will good for her. She is experienced and knows how to deal with it,” Kumar said.
Replying to a query, Kumar said: “Earlier, there were only the Chinese who ruled the roost, but now it is between Carolina and Saina. For me whoever wins the world championship is world number one.”
In world championship, a medal has always eluded Saina, who has not progressed beyond the quarterfinals. The World No. 2, who will start as one of the favourites, is hoping that Kumar’s guidance helps her to conquer the world meet.
“It has been a successful story getting trained under the eyes of Vimal sir. The results have been sweet as I reached the Number One position, though I am Number two right now. I am training hard for this event, but there is a little shoulder pain, but hope to recover soon,” she said after the evening practise session at the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy.