Need more ‘player-friendly’ event scheduling: Saina Nehwal

New Delhi: Indian ace Saina Nehwal is all set to spearhead Awadhe Warriors challenge in the Premier Badminton League (PBL), starting from December 23, but the Hyderabadi shuttler at the same time is also worried about the cramped scheduling of events for the forthcoming year.

Speaking to ANI on the sidelines of a PBL event, Nehwal said, “The scheduling of events is not done properly for next year. For the top players, it is going to be very challenging to choose tournament.”

She added, “There are so many tournaments including the few prestigious ones. Some tournaments are also mandatory to play. It is going to be very challenging for the players to pick and choose the events.”

Nehwal’s concerns come on the backdrop of the fact that the Badminton World Federation (BWF) has made it compulsory for the top 15 global players in the singles events and top 10 pairs in the doubles to play a minimum of 12 tournaments or face a penalty.

The Olympian lamented that BWF’s uneven scheduling of tournaments only adds to players’ injuries and puts pressure on them and leaves them with no time for recovery.

Asked what changes she would have suggested if she were the BWF president, Nehwal said, “I would have planned lesser tournaments. What they [BWF] are doing right now is to get more money in to have more visibility. Putting too many tournaments only add up to pressure and injuries. It is also challenging physically and mentally.”

Meanwhile, she praised scheduling of tennis tournaments where they have only four Grand Slams and suggested that badminton event planning should also be done in a similar way.

The 27-year-old said, “It should be made much friendlier for the players to have some time for practice and recovery so that it would be better for players to last longer in a year.”

Talking about her PBL challenge, she said, “All the matches are very tough plus it has team events so the pressure will be even more because there are lots of people who are expecting you to win. It will be challenging, it is not going to be easy.”

The third edition of PBL will mark the presence of ace shuttlers including, Olympic gold medallist Carolina Marin, World No. 1 Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen, Chinese Taipei’s Tzu Wei Wang and Olympics silver medallist in doubles, Christinna Pedersen.

Two-time World champion Carolina Marin will be seen in action representing the Hyderabad Hunters after recovering from the hip injury that she sustained during Hong Kong Open in late November.

The injury caused her to miss the recently-concluded Dubai World Superseries Finals.

Talking to ANI, Marin expressed her excitement for the PBL and said, “I am very happy to be here in India. I feel like my second home here.”

The Spanish shuttler confirmed about her fitness and said that she will try to achieve the top notch in the upcoming year and will aim to win the all England and World Championship.