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‘Handling pressure will be key’

Members of Uber Cup squad with support staff during a promotional, on Wednesday

New Delhi: Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal feels Indian players would have to learn the tricks of handling the pressure if they aspire to reach the knock-out stage of the Uber Cup.

India is hosting the prestigious Thomas and Uber Cup badminton tournaments at the Siri Forts Sports Complex here, from May 18 to 25. India women have drawn Thailand, Canada and Hong Kong in Group C and Saina has been named the captain. The men’s team is led by P Kashyap.

“All teams will be under pressure. Those who can handle it better will emerge winners… it will be a tense event. Handling pressure will be the key. The momentum is very important. I will play the first singles and if I win, my team will get the confidence and the momentum. Otherwise, the pressure will be on the next player,” said the former world No. 2.

Saina said she took a break from playing the circuit because for her Uber Cup was the priority. “It’s being hosted for the first time in India and it’s a team event. I want to give it my best shot,” she said.

Saina started the season on a high, winning the India Grand Prix Gold in Lucknow in January, her first title in 15 months. But since then, she has only been able to make the quarter-finals of All England, Swiss Open and India Open and a first round exit in Singapore Open.

Asked on her fitness, Saina said she was feeling much better. “I will be playing the first singles which is very important. I will try to give my team a good start.”