Saina Nehwal hints at early retirement following knee surgery

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Saina Nehwal hints at early retirement following knee surgery

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SportsCafe Desk

11/02/2016

2012 Olympics medalist Saina Nehwal has expressed concerns over her future after suffering a chronic knee injury during the Rio Olympics. The former World No. 1, who is currently recovering after undergoing a surgery, wishes to make a comeback in the China Open Super series starting November 15.

"It is okay, many people will think my career will end and I won't come back. I also think somewhere deep in my heart that maybe is the end of my career, so let's see how it is. Maybe, you never know," Saina Nehwal told ESPN.in on Wednesday.

"I will be more than happy if people think I am finished, it is nice in a way, people think a lot about me, maybe now they won't,” she said.

The bronze medallist from 2012 London Olympics exited in the group stage of 2016 Rio Olympics due to a long-term knee injury and had to go under the knife in September. After being away from competitive badminton for two months, Saina said she is careful not to set long-term goals following the surgery. 

"I just want to work hard, I just want to take care of my body and keep working on the areas that were weak and not think about winning or losing. I am going to think about the next one year, it is year by year now, I am not going to set a target for the next 5-6 years now." Saina said.

The 26-year old also felt that she could take a call on her future in the next two or three years depending on the condition of her body.

"My mind may change in the next one, two or three years, so for me it is just about how to take care of my body and be in good shape because these injuries are quite painful. Even if I win a tournament, the happiness is not so much because of the amount of pain the injury gives," she said.

Crediting her parents for supporting her through the difficult period, Saina also thanked sports science expert Heath Matthews for helping her with the recovery post surgery.

"It[Matthews' help] does mean a lot to me because otherwise I wouldn't be back here playing," the World No. 6 said.

Saina is eyeing a comeback at the China Open starting from November 15, followed by the Hong Kong Open from November 22. But a final call on her participation will be taken in the next few days. 

"I don't have to set any target now, it is just to stay fit and if I am happy and doing well, the results will follow but I am not thinking much about that at the moment," she added.

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