NEW DELHI: What should one expect from players who are making a comeback after an injury? Each player looks at it differently. Certain players want to give it their all on the court, while others just want to take it step by step to regain full fitness and form. Come the Yonex Sunrise India Open 2017, there are two stars — Saina Nehwal and Carolina Marin — who are on a comeback trail, but their approach will totally be different from one another.
Carolina Marin, who has suffered from a lower back injury since she won the 2016 Olympics gold, has played just the All England Championship this year and is out of match practice coming into an all-important tournament in India.
But the thought of a recurring injury does not bother her one bit and she wants to play the natural, aggressive game that she is known for. The Spaniard knows that this championship could be a dress rehearsal for the World Championships and wants to leave no stone unturned before that.
“I am really motivated to do well at the India Open. People would think that I'm not 100 per cent here, but they should know, when I’m on court, I give it my everything. I am going to play my natural game. The thought of getting injured again is not going to stop me from playing aggressive. I like to be tough on the court,” Marin said.
Not thinking much about the draw, Marin wants to target one game at a time and does not want to set any goals for the tournament as that might distract her.
“I don’t like to plan my tournaments a lot. I just target every single game I'm playing, nothing beyond that. That is how I give my best on the court,” Marin added.
On the other hand, Saina, who suffered from a career-threatening knee injury is seeing this tournament as a stepping stone for success in future events.
Having only appeared at the All England Championship this year, just like Marin, Saina is still cautious of her knee problem. She thinks the barrier is more psychological than physical. Having said that, she wants to regain form in this tournament.
“Sometimes I still feel the pain when I play on the hard court. So sometimes I don’t want to strain my knee too much, so that the injury does not occur again. My movement on the court is restricted because of that. It is more of a mental thing with me right now,” Saina said.
Saina, who won the India Open in 2015, does not want to burden herself with the expectations, but believes that her training is on the right track and results will start to show soon. “It’s difficult to achieve good results immediately. Training is going well, but competition is a different ball game altogether.”
With a tough test awaiting both Saina and Marin, it remains to be seen whose strategy works in this particular tournament.