After recovering from a career-threatening knee injury, Saina Nehwal today clinched the Malaysia Masters crown and the Indian ace shuttler described it has been a very tough and emotional journey.
Saina endured a difficult season last year when an Achilles tendonities affected her performance in the beginning of the year but she recovered to win the Australian Open.
She, however, developed pain in her knee and suffered a heartbreak at the Olympics, exiting early from the prestigious tournament.
She then had to go under the knife but she recovered well within three months to make a comeback into the international circuit at China Open. She eventually reached the quarters at Macau Open and Hong Kong Open, before beginning the new season with a moral-boosting win at Malaysia.
"In four months from knee surgery to the title it was very tough and emotional journey for me," said Saina, who beat 18-year-old Thai Pornpawee Chochuwong 22-20, 22-20 in a 46-minute clash.
This was her 23rd title overall and the first after last year's Australian Open.
The 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist also thanked her coaches and support staff for always being by her side during the difficult phase.
"I would also like to thank my coaches Vimal Kumar sir and Umendra Rana sir for supporting me throughout this journey," the former World No. 1 Saina said.
"I really would like to thank my physios Heath Mathews, Chandan Poddar and Arvind Nigam for the Malaysia Masters title," she added.