New Delhi: Crediting U. Vimal Kumar for her silver medal-winning performance at the recently concluded World Badminton Championships, Saina Nehwal on Tuesday said the coach helped her resurrect her career after a string of injuries made her think of quitting the game last year.
Saina was laid low by a toe fracture in 2013 and was forced to miss the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last year due to a blister on her leg.
Her struggles with fitness reflected on her performances and prompted her to shift to Bengaluru to train under Vimal Kumar at the Prakash Padukone Academy.
According to the World No.2, Vimal gave her the confidence and the right guidance required to improve her game.
“I was thinking about quitting (last year) because I thought I was getting irritated with the kind of performances I was giving. I was not happy with the way I was playing. It was not happening, I was not finding out ways to win. It was getting challenging for me because I knew I was a world class player,” Saina told a news channel.
“Losing without a fight was not me. That moment Vimal Sir joined the Uber Cup team after a long time. He worked on my game and I started winning games in Uber Cup and then I won the Australian Open.
“Now I have become World no. 1, won China and India Open, reached the finals of All England and World Championships. All these happened only as I moved to Bengaluru. I wanted to improve and I think it (shifting from Hyderabad to Bengaluru) was a good decision,” the Olympic bronze medallist added.
“Vimal Sir’s influence is the biggest change. I really want to thank him for spending so much time with me in the court and making me believe everyday that I am a champion, I can be number one.”
Saina, who lost to Spanish top seed Carolina Marin in the final in Jakarta, created history by becoming the first Indian to bag a silver medal at the World Championships.
The 25-year-old said that former national chief coach Vimal gave a lot of “personal attention” for her growth as a shuttler.
“Even physically I am feeling much better. It’s because, when you get personal attention you are naturally going to improve. The whole attention is on you. He is working on areas in which I am weak,” Saina said.
The Hyderabad ace said that she is looking forward to a strong show at the 2016 Olympic Games after an impressive performance at the Worlds.
“It’s (World Championship medal) one of the special medals because it will give me lot more confidence to be ready for the Olympics. In the Olympics the same players will also compete. Olympics come every four years. It will be lot more pressure. But same kind of players will be there,” she said.