New Delhi, March 28: India's ace shuttler Saina Nehwal today created history by becoming World No. 1 in the women's singles ranking.
Also read: Saina wins China Open
Saina is the first Indian woman to top the world ranking in badminton. Her ranking was confirmed today at the India Open Super Series tournament. Saina's rise to No. 1, from 2, came after World Champion Carolin Marin of Spain lost her semi-final to third seed from Thailand Ratchanok Intanon 21-19, 21-23, 22-20 at India Open today.
Later today, Saina, who won Olympic bronze medal in 2012, will play her India Open semi-final against Yui Hashimoto of Japan. Irrespective of the outcome of this match, Saina is assured of No. 1 ranking. She will replace China's Li Xuerui, who is injured at the moment. (Saina splits with coach Gopichand)
"I want to be the best. It's not about the ranking, it's about being consistent. Li Xuerui is injured. You can't ignore the fact that she's the best player in the world," the 25-year-old Saina had said.
"But she's been injured over the last few months. When she comes back she will be strong. The Chinese will come back and they will be ready for us.
"Everybody dreams of winning the Olympics or the World Championships. I'm one of them. But I want to be relaxed, enjoy my game. Becoming No.1 is a good thing. If it's in my destiny, it will happen," Saina had said yesterday at Indian Open.
The rankings will officially be updated next Thursday. Prakash Padukone was the first Indian to top the rankings, in men's singles.
The latest achievement is a big boost for Saina as she eyes a gold medal at next year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Recently, she had become the first Indian woman to reach the final of All England Championships.
Last year, before the Asian Games, Saina split with her coach Pullela Gopichand and started training under Vimal Kumar. She moved from Hyderabad to Bengaluru.
President Pranab Mukherjee was one of the firsts to congratulate Saina on this wonderful achievement. Soon Twitter was flooded with messages from fans.
Here are some of the congratulatory messages for Saina
Congrats Saina Nehwal on becoming World no 1 in Badminton; well deserved honour; best wishes for Indian Open Semi Final #PresidentMukherjee— President of India (@RashtrapatiBhvn) March 28, 2015
Heartiest congratulations to saina on attaining world no.1 rank..proud moment for indians and all badminton fans!!— Gutta Jwala (@Guttajwala) March 28, 2015
Saina is world no1 in Badminton, creates history.. Kudos..— Chakravarty Sulibele (@astitvam) March 28, 2015
First Indian woman to become World No. 1 in any games. Well done, Saina Nehwal. You've made every Indian proud. pic.twitter.com/5d3MpDbxDL— Naorem Mohen (@laimacha) March 28, 2015
Congratulations Saina. Quite an achievement that! @NSaina— Ritesh K Prakash (@ozil_is_ill) March 28, 2015
Saina.... Saina..... Saina.... Wwoooohoooo— alok choudhary (@aloknic) March 28, 2015
You go, Saina! Yay! World No. 1!— Arati Raval-Pandey (@AratiRaval) March 28, 2015