Mumbai: For London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal, life after marrying fellow shuttler Parupalli Kashyap last December has been a “dream run”. India’s star shuttler, who recently won the Indonesia Masters — her first title in two years — says it won’t be wrong to call marriage her “lucky charm”.
“Everything is falling in place. It’s like a dream run. I never thought that after marriage, I would go on to win my first title after two years, which I was really hoping for,” Saina told IANS in an interview here.
“It has been long since I won my Super Series title, but I was happy that I could reach one semi-final and one final after that… Unfortunately, Carolina Marin had to retire after the injury but I think I was quite lucky to win the tournament,” she added.
The reigning Asian Games champion was feeling doubly lucky about walking the Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) Summer/Resort 2019 ramp for Chennai-based designer Vaani Raghupathy in a lehenga in her favourite colour, yellow.
Would she say marriage has been her lucky charm?
“Yes, I would say that,” Saina said with the blush of a newly-married bride.
Saina has often been lauded for being mentally tough — a compliment recently paid to her by her former coach Vimal Kumar.
“Thank you to Vimal sir for saying that, but I know it since my childhood. I used to fight matches and win them, and it’s all because of my fighting spirit. Mentally, I am a little stronger, and that has been one of my specialties.
“I’m not someone with great stroke qualities, but I have to learn them,” Saina said, adding that facing injuries and yet being strong are a part and parcel of every sportsperson’s life.
“There is no shortcut in sports. Injury is part of a sportsperson’s life. We have to be patient and go with the flow. We should make sure we have good training and be fitter. Rest is not in our hands,” she said.
The Hyderabadi shuttler, who is set to compete in the prestigious All England Championships from March 6 to 10, knows where she needs to up her game.
“I have to be very careful in tough situations because in bigger tournaments, I have to fight it and overcome it. The last time I lost in the All England Badminton final was in 2015.
“I have to make sure I have to overcome (issues) and win major events as well. I know it’s not going to be easy, but I am going to correct a few of my mistakes and movements.”
“If I do that and if I am one of the fittest in the tournaments, I can go on winning them,” she said with true sportsmanship.
At the moment, she is looking forward to the preparations for four to five weeks. She has the senior nationals in Guwahati from February 10-16 and then the All England Championships in Birmingham.
Since badminton takes a majority of time in the couple’s lives, Saina says it becomes “difficult” sometimes.
“Even he has to play certain tournaments to get a certain ranking and so do I. This is an Olympic year, and everyone’s trying to be a part of it.”
Nevertheless, she hopes they can take a quick break in May or June.
(Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at email@example.com. She is in Mumbai on an invitation by LFW organisers.)