Saina Nehwal optimistic about Indian women shuttlers’ strong return


The struggle of Indian women shuttlers in the BWF circuit is quite apparent but Saina Nehwal has backed her colleagues by saying that even the strong Chinese players are finding it difficult to dish out strong performances on a consistent basis and hoped that the lean patch of the singles players will end soon.
In contrasting performances in the last one year, India’s male players have transformed into a world-conquering unit while the women shuttlers are struggling to go deep into the draws.
In 15 tournaments that PV Sindhu has competed in this year, she could not go beyond the second rounds in 10 events. Seven of them were first-round exits.
Finishing runner-up at the Madrid Masters in March and reaching the semifinals at the Canada Open in July have been the best results for the country’s top shuttler in 2023.
“Every year is not the same. Sometimes there are ups and downs. If you look at the Chinese women players, their performance in recent times has also not been very good. They too are not able to perform the way the Korean players or Tai-Tzu Ying and other players are performing,” Saina said.
A look at the records of top Chinese players shows that world No.3 Chinese Chen Yu Fei could reach the title round only twice in 11 tournaments and bagged one title in 2023 while world No.5 He Bing Jiao played 13 events and finished runner-up on two occasions.
India’s Ashmita Chaliha has played eight tournaments and suffered either first or second-round exits. She won the low-tier Maldives International.
In 15 tournaments, Aakarshi Kashyap made 11 first-round exits.
“There is a slight drop in performance among the women players but I am sure, in the future, we will achieve good results,” hoped Saina.
In contrast, the men’s players won a historic title at the Thomas Cup last year and the men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty became the first Indian pair to reach No.1 in world rankings after winning the country’s first gold medal in the recently concluded Asian Games.