Former all-England champion Prakash Padukone has said PV Sindhu has the potential to become women’s world No 1, but called for proper planning by the player and her coach, including striking the right balance between rest and training for the current world No 6.
"Definitely, Sindhu is capable of reaching the number one place," Padukone told reporters in Bengaluru while attending a workshop for Olympic Gold Quest.
"It depends on Gopi and her to decide. If they plan the year with proper rest and training, and keep enough gap between tournaments, it is a matter of time before she reaches number one in women's singles."
Sindhu had a sensational 2016 that saw the 21-year-old win silver at the Rio Olympics, bag her first Superseries crown at the China Open and followed it up with a second-place finish at the Hong Kong Open.
After qualifying for her first World Superseries Finals, she put up a good show by beating Carolina Marin on her way to the semi-finals.
"Definitely, she has the potential because she is young. She, at least, has five to six years of good badminton. She has beaten all the players," 61-year-old Padukone said.
"I think she looks confident, and has been a different player since Olympics, and one of the reasons I presume is the way they (Sindhu and Gopi) prepared, because six to seven weeks she did not play any tournaments, so they were able to prepare exactly they wanted.
"She was well prepared and there was no pressure (on her prior to Olympics) because she hadn't done that well before Olympics. Therefore, she played freely.”
Saina Nehwal's coach Vimal Kumar was all praise for Sindhu but refused to get drawn into comparing the two.
"I cannot comment on that (whether Sindhu can beat Saina in the race for the number one position). Yes, Sindhu would be good competition for Saina. In the next five to six years, they are both likely to dominate the world badminton," Kumar said.
Kumar also confirmed that Nehwal's recovery from injury has been on schedule and added that if she can get back to winning ways, the former World No 1 would be a force to reckon with again.
"If she (Saina) can continue that then she can be back to her winning ways. She can look at winning big tournaments again. That is what I am looking at now," he said.