Gopichand, the former All England champion, has been instrumental in the success of both the shuttlers.
Sindhu vs Saina: Contrasting seasons in 2017
Ever since winning the Olympic medal, Sindhu has transformed into a world beater. The 22-year-old went on to win Superseries titles in China and India, before she won her third World Championships medal — a Silver — at the Glasgow world meet last month.
While Sindhu was going about dominating the rest of the pack, 27-year-old Saina was struggling in the early half of the 2017 season. The knee injury she suffered during the Rio Games hampered her performances.
However, in Glasgow, the former world number one hit peak form to end up with a bronze medal after losing to eventual champion Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in the final.
While insisting that Sindhu and Saina, shuttlers who started at different times, should not be compared with each other, Gopichand opens up on the rivalry between the flag bearers of Indian badminton.
“It is very unfair to compare both of them. They started their career at different times. Saina’s first tournament was in 2006-07. She was the only Indian to play in that mode at that point of time. Sindhu is much younger and came later. She is at a different stage of her career, just as Saina is at a different stage of her own trajectory,” Gopichand told The Times of India.
He added: “In any event, domestic competition is important. It is a great motivation for each to raise the bar. Sindhu and Saina competing is very good.
“We need to have this on the men’s side too, where many are competing and trying to do better than the others. It is about healthy competition in all areas of the game.”
Meanwhile, Saina also patched up with Gopichand following a three-year rift between the two. The Hyderabad shuttler, who was the pioneer when it comes to challenging the Chinese domination in the sport, had parted ways with her mentor in 2014 and had been training under Vimal Kumar in Bengaluru.
Shaina is now back to training at the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad where Sindhu also goes about her training routines.
Participation in upcoming Korea Superseries tournament
Saina will miss the Korea Open, starting September 12 in Seoul owing to a minor injury. On the other hand, Sindhu is seeded fifth in the Women’s singles category and is certainly among the favorites to win the title.