Saina Nehwal is going through difficult times in her career. On Friday, she crashed out of the Macau Open after a shocking defeat to World No 226 Zhang Yiman in straight sets. Despite coming back strongly in the second game after surrendering in the first one by 12-21 margin, she had to bow out of a major tournament for the third time in two months.

With her Hyderabadi compatriot PV Sindhu in prime form after clinching the silver at just-concluded 2016 Rio Olympics, armchair critics have begun advising Saina to gracefully call it a day. Even the London Olympics bronze medallist in an interview after undergoing a knee surgery had expressed concerns that it might have signalled the end of her career. I don’t think so.  Isn’t it too early to set aside the laurels she has brought to the country with her amazing game?

“Tough times don’t last. Tough people do, remember?” Saina can take inspiration from this quote by Hollywood actor Gregory Peck in these tough times. Known for her grit and determination, the Arjuna awardee has bounced back strongly after suffering injuries in her decade-long career. With the badminton fraternity strongly dominated by the Chinese, an Indian shuttler achieving top rank was unheard of. Saina managed to break the glass ceiling by becoming the first Indian to do that.

Saina Nehwal won the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics. (Photo: Reuters)

Saina Nehwal won the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics. (Photo: Reuters)

Everybody salutes the rising sun. PV Sindhu is the cynosure of all eyes after the silver feat at the Rio Olympics. But it would be unfair on part of Saina, a winner of 22 international titles to be looked down upon after a series of setbacks. What we must not forget that she has been playing three consecutive tournaments while recovering from knee surgery. It shows her sheer determination to fight against injuries as she had done in the past. Remember, she braved injuries in the run-up to London Olympics before clinching a historic bronze at the quadrennial sporting extravaganza four years ago?

We are sure she will bounce back after the lows and start winning matches once again.