She has been an inspiration, fighter, more importantly, she has shown a path to many Indian women to follow their dreams. However, an injury had forced this tough girl to rethink over her career. She thought maybe it was an end of badminton in her life.

 

 

Saina's struggle commenced three months back in Rio when her knee injury deteriorated resulting in her second-round elimination.

 

"It is okay; many people will think my career will end, and I won’t come back. I also believe somewhere deep in my heart that maybe it is the end of my career, so let’s see how it is. Maybe, you never know," Saina said before the China Open 2016.

 

What followed next?

 

A first-round exit from the tournament on Wednesday. The Indian suffered a 16-21, 21-19, 14-21 loss to World No. 21 Porntip Buranaprasertsuk of Thailand in the opening round.

 

Any positive in that loss?

 

YES. After going one game down, the way the Hyderabadi girl fought back to equalise, was the testimony of her willingness to still survive. Not only survive but also battle against the odds and reclaim her top spot in the sport.

 

It was quite evident that Sania lost the first round of China Open due to lack of match fitness. The first game was neck to neck as both the players squared off with scores of 13-13, 14-14 and then 16-16.

 

China Open 2016 in Fuzhou: Saina with her dad and physio, Arvind Nigam. Source: Her Twitter handle

 

However, the fitter Porntip took advantage of Sania being weak went ahead and clinched the first game 21-16. The clash went on to become intense when Sania from being 4-11 down went on to claim the game 21-19.

 

Regardless of the result, Saina surely must have regained the lost confidence; the fighting spirit certainly would have pleased her and her fans.

 

Saina, whose love for the game remains the same, took to social media to thank her physio, Arvind Nigam, for bringing her back to the big stage in two and a half months after being sidelined.

 

 

 

 

Her struggles, post the surgery, might take the time to end. Nonetheless, there is tons of badminton still left in the 26-year-old World No. 6 shuttler.