New Delhi: On a sabbatical for the past seven months, India's star doubles shuttler Jwala Gutta concedes she has chosen a difficult comeback stage in the All England Championships but insists she has nothing to prove during the Premier Super Series event starting March 5 in Birmingham.
One half of the World Championships bronze medal-winning pair, Jwala had taken a break after the London Olympics and for the last two months, has been working out to get back in shape for All England, where she will pair up with 20-year-old Prajakta Sawant and the experienced V Diju in the women's and mixed doubles category respectively.
"Coming back after a long break is difficult so I am not expecting too much from myself at the moment. I am taking it easy," said Jwala. "I have been training for the tournament. I missed the German open which I wanted to play first but its okay. The mixed doubles draw (at the All England Championship) is good. We should win the first two rounds. We have never lost against the Polish pair in the second round. So I am positive."
"Moreover, I don't have to prove anything to anyone after a long successful career. So, I will look to just play for myself," said Jwala, who along with Diju will start her mixed doubles campaign against Peter Kaesbauer and Isabel Herttrich in the first round. The 29-year-old will be pairing with Prajakta Sawant, a talented young player, who has been involved in a legal tussle with chief coach Pullela Gopichand, in the women's doubles competition.
The new pair will take on the Thai combo of Serithammarak Artima and Peeraya Munkitamorn in the opening round of the qualifiers. "I know I am playing in the qualifiers after a long long time but it's okay, I know me and Prajakta will do well," Jwala said. Jwala has found success with two partners in women's doubles for India. In the initial part of her career, Jwala paired with Shruti Kurien and then combined with Ashwini Ponnappa to win the Commonwealth Games gold medal, before clinching the bronze in the World Championship.
However, now Ashwini has started playing with Pradnya Gadre and she may look to take the partnership ahead. Jwala said: "There are a few things which I need to sort out. So I haven't thought too far ahead as of now." Jwala, who won the National Badminton Championships 13 times until 2010, also expressed her wholehearted support for new partner Prajakta. "She is a good talent and I think she is still young, she can make mistakes but we senior players need to come out to support her so that she can make India proud in future," she said.