Things Common Between Saina Nehwal And PV Sindhu
Saina Nehwal and P.V Sindhu are the two gems of Indian Badminton; one is the Olympic bronze medalist and other is the two-time World Championships bronze medalist. One is the badminton queen of India, other is the Indian teenage badminton sensation.
Technically, Saina is stronger and faster. She moves around the court like a hawk, waiting to attack at the right moment. Sindhu is much more contained; she is calculative and is more tactical, relying on her reach rather than power.
Saina Nehwal, who is currently the World No. 6 is undoubtedly the more experienced and a better player than P.V Sindhu, whose ranking is 10, but let’s compare the performance of both the players statistically.
One was the established star India relied upon for medals and glory on the international stage. The other was her talented understudy, inconsistent and mesmerizing in parts. Or that’s what we thought. In Rio, it all turned upside down –
India’s Olympic sojourn ended in pain and disappointment as she hobbled out against a much lesser-ranked player.
Sindhu, meanwhile, seized the opportunity to unleash her electric prowess as a shuttler on the greatest stage of all, eventually becoming the ﬁrst female sportsperson to win a silver medal for India.
Comparing their Performances in 2014
|Tournaments Played by Saina Nehwal||12(excluding Asian Games)|
|Number of Tournaments in which Saina Nehwal lost in Quarters||7|
It’s important to note that out of nine defeats which Saina has faced this year, eight are against the Chinese players. Saina is not in the best form when it comes to taking on the top Chinese players. She had a win-loss record of 2-8 against World No. 1 Li Xuerui and 1-8 against World No. 3 Wang Yihan.
So, if Saina wants to become the best in the world, then she needs to beat the best in the world.
Sindhu lacks consistency. But she is just 19, so we can expect that Sindhu will become a lot more consistent, aggressive and conﬁdent in her game in the coming years.
Saina Nehwal with the 2014 Australian Open Trophy
Saina Nehwal ’s Win-Loss record against Top 5 ranked players (Data till the French Open)
|Against the World No.1 Chinese shuttler Li Xuerui||2 – 8|
|Against the World No.2 Chinese shuttler Wang Shixian||5 – 5|
|Against the World No.3 Chinese shuttler Wang Yihan||1 – 8|
|Against the World No.4 Korean shuttler Ji Hyun Sung||4 – 1|
|Against the World No.5 Korean shuttler Bae Yeon Ju||6 – 4|
PV Sindhu’s Win-Loss record against Top
5 ranked players (Data till the French Open)
|Against the World No.1 Chinese shuttler Li Xuerui||1 – 1|
|Against the World No.2 Chinese shuttler Wang Shixian||4 – 2|
|Against the World No.3 Chinese shuttler Wang Yihan||1 – 3|
|Against the World No.4 Korean shuttler Ji Hyun Sung||3 – 1|
|Against the World No.5 Korean shuttler Bae Yeon Ju||1 – 2|
Sindhu’s record against the top 5 shuttlers of the world is pretty decent. If she can maintain the consistency, then she can surely become India’s as well as world’s best badminton player in the coming years.
Saina Nehwal’s performance in Major Tournaments since 2012 London Olympics
|No. of Super Series Premier tournaments played||9|
|No. of Super Series Premier tournaments won||1 (Yonex Denmark Open in October 2012)|
|No. of Super Series tournaments played||12|
|No. of Super Series tournaments Won||1(Australian Open Super Series in June 2014)|
|No. of Grand Prix Gold tournaments played||5|
|No. of Grand Prix Gold Tournaments won||1(India Grand Prix Gold in January 2014)|
|No. of World Championships played||2|
|No. of World Championships won||None|
|No. of BWF World Super series ﬁnals played||2|
|No. of BWF World Super series ﬁnals won||None|
PV Sindhu’s performance in major tournaments since 2014
PV Sindhu with the bronze medal at the 2014 World Championships
PV Sindhu’s performance in major tournaments since 2012 London Olympics
|No. of Super series Premier tournaments played||7|
|No. of Super series Premier tournaments won||none|
|No. of Super series tournaments played||13|
|No. of Super series tournaments won||none|
|No. of Grand Prix Gold tournaments played||4|
|No. of Grand Prix Gold Tournaments won||2(Macau Open in December 2013 and Malaysia Open in May 2013)|
|No. of World Championships played||2 (won 2 bronze medals in 2013 and 2014)|
|No. of Badminton Asia Championships played||2|
|No. of Badminton Asia Championships won||none|
PV Sindhu about Saina Nehwal in Interviews
- PV Sindhu has said she plays together with Saina Nehwal but does not get time to be interactive and talk to her during badminton training sessions.
- The two superstars now train under the same roof in Hyderabad. “We play together during practice but there’s not much time to get interactive and talk to each other because we have our training sessions,” said Sindhu,
- In an interview with Hindustan Times, Sindhu admitted that there was rivalry, but added that it was not a “big issue” and that people often mistook the aggression players showed during a match as rivalry.
- “The rivalry (with Saina) is always there. When you play, you want to win and both (of us) have the aggression to win,” said the World No. 3. “But rivalry is good in a way; it is just a ﬁght in the match.”
Competition Between Sindhu and Saina
- Things were slightly different in 2017. Sindhu won at the India Open Super Series in New Delhi. But Saina regained the form she lost in 2016 and came out with her best to defeat Sindhu in the ﬁnal of the National Championships in Nagpur to rekindle their rivalry. Come 2018, their competition will be something to look forward to, and bodes well for Indian badminton
- When it comes to on-court competition, the duo has a 1-1 record in ofﬁcial Badminton World Federation (BWF) meetings this year. The ﬁrst time the two met was in 2014 when Saina eased past Sindhu in two games.
- Since Saina, now 27, left childhood mentor Pullela Gopichand to train under Olympian U Vimal Kumar in September 2014, Sindhu has been slowly eclipsing her as India’s top badminton star.
- The silver medals Sindhu earned at the 2016 Rio Games and the 2017 World Championship helped her snatch the limelight that had been Saina’s for almost eight years
Sindhu & Saina Emergence
Sindhu has ﬁrmly emerged from Saina’s shadow to forge her own path. But throughout, even though they have trained under the same coach for large parts of their career, Sindhu has remained a distinctly different shuttler to Saina.
Saina’s ﬁghting spirit, aggression and hunger to win made her stand out, and these characteristics seemed to be missing in Sindhu until now. The biggest difference between the two, then, remained one of temperament, a gulf Sindhu appears to have bridged in Rio following her own rigorous efforts to add more steel to her game. With liberal help, of course, from coach Pullela Gopichand.
Saina’s trademark calmness on court helps her deal with pesky opponents who try to rattle her with body smashes and stares. Sindhu, on her part, doesn’t like body smashes and would get easily rattled and concede points. It’s because of this that she tended to lose many matches from winning positions.
But at this Olympics, Sindhu has been a revelation. She was cool like a cucumber even in the gold medal match and hardly ever seemed annoyed throughout her memorable campaign.
For a long time, Gopi has been working on instilling these characteristics in Sindhu, who now appears more aggressive yet more controlled-on court. Saina, a proven champion, interestingly does not believe she is a natural stroke maker. She has herself admitted on a number of occasions that she lacked natural talent compared to some other players. Saina relies more on hard work and training and needs at least six to eight weeks to peak before a tournament. Sindhu, in contrast, is more of a natural and also uses her height to devastating affect while playing the smashes. She has always been capable of unsettling the opponent with her Strokeplay.
Standing tall at 5’11”, Sindhu likes to pack her shots with a lot of power. Saina, however, is a rally player who wears down the opponent and pounces on the mistakes of others. From the back of the court, Saina is a better player than Sindhu, with better court coverage. Saina is a delightful dribbler at the net. Sindhu’s net game is good but not as effective as that of Saina.
Sindhu, in comparison, has numerous chinks in her defense but in the last two months, the 21-year-old has worked hard on reducing the chinks. She looks solid in defense now and has surprised many with her retrieving ability. Saina likes faster court conditions – when the shuttle is moving fast between the courts it will be advantage Saina. Sindhu prefers the opposite; she likes if the shuttle is slow.
That is why in Asian conditions, where they use air conditioners, the shuttle moves well and Saina performs better. In Brazil, however, the shuttle moved slower and Sindhu was on a roll.