New Delhi: Bolstered by Australian Open triumph, India ace shuttler Saina Nehwal says she is now working on her half smashes under the watchful eyes of coach Vimal Kumar to get closer to the goal of winning a gold medal at next month’s Rio Olympics.
“The victory in Australia came at just the right time. I was really looking forward for some change and nothing boosts confidence like winning. I needed a win to keep believing that I am on the right track,” the 26-year-old told PTI.
“I am working hard on my half smashes to get closer to my goals. It is wonderful to win Australian Open prior to the Olympics. It is very satisfying to beat two world champions and a junior world champion in one tournament,” added the girl from Hyderabad who clinched the Australian title last month.
Set to play in her third Olympics, Saina said she is completely fit and the key will be to “reach the peak” in that particular week.
“I take each tournament as it comes. Rio Olympics will also be like any other games. My approach to the game is very positive and I would like to keep it like that and focus on my game. I feel that on the day that I am 100 percent fit, I have the potential to defeat anyone,” said the London Olympics bronze medallist.
“I feel I am fit. I am running nicely. At the end of the day, it’s important that you reach the peak and play your best during that particular week. That’s what will count ultimately and will be the key.”
It has been a year and a half that Saina has been training under Vimal Kumar in Bangalore and she said the former national coach was the one who made her believe that she can be a champion.
“Vimal Sir’s influence is the biggest change. I really want to thank him for making me believe every day that I am a champion, I can be number one. Vimal Sir is helping me work on my half smashes and get closer to my goals,” said Saina, who had reached the World No. 1 under Vimal’s guidance last year.
“It’s not easy to play at the highest level. I would like to give my best and like all the players my goal is also to come back with a gold medal. It’s a big contingent going from India this time, so we hope to have a triumphant return with lots of medals.