Saina Nehwal has expressed her unwillingness to participate in the Asian Badminton Championship stating that she wants to focus solely on the Commonwealth and Asian Games. The Indian star has also criticized the world governing body's new 15-tournament per year rule calling it a ‘killing schedule’.
Nehwal’s decision to not take part in the Asian Badminton Championship has surprised many. However, the World No.12 has revealed that her focus is currently on the upcoming two big tournaments - Commonwealth Games in April and Asian Games in August. She asserted that the decision was taken keeping an eye on her depreciating age and growing need to choose her challenges carefully.
“It is not easy for people to understand what we go through. I am not 20 anymore. I have to keep myself fit to be able to play for long and you see the calendar. It is a killing calendar and we don't know when and how and which tournaments we will play and what happens next,” said Nehwal after having an easy first-round win in the India Open.
"You have to understand that I still need time. It is not that I haven't played for India. I have played enough Uber Cup and every time I played, I have won all my matches. I have planned it in such a way that I have got good results in team events and big events."
The 27-year-old Indian shuttler is currently having a row with BWF following the world body’s new 15-tournament rule per year, out of which a player must play 12. After her letter to the Badminton Association of India (BAI) expressing her disregard for it, she reiterated on Wednesday that the sponsorship and money should not come at the cost of players’ fitness.
“I tell you the sport is killing. It is a tough calendar for players. I just feel that it should be reduced. I understand the point of sponsorship and money. But it should not be at the cost of players' fitness. It should not lead to a condition where players are not going to play well and not give their best. Then we will not have a champion, we will only have tournaments," said Nehwal after being informed about HS Prannoy’s struggles with corns in his first-round match.
The World No.10 was seen spending exactly 13 minutes on the court, on Wednesday, to make up for the numbers.
"If I had not played this one, there would be a backlog which will be difficult to clear at the end of the year," said Prannoy after the game.