It’s early days yet, but Saina Nehwal is noticing significant improvements in her game since fellow-player and husband Parupalli Kashyap started working with her late last year.
Badminton has a history of romantic relationships within the sport – many have led to marriage – but it is unheard-of for active top-level players to sit courtside for their partner’s matches.
Parupalli asserts that his own match preparation still remains the same: “Nothing changes, you prepare the same way. But there’s another mindset involved in the match, so she can give her inputs.”
“It depends on how free he is, but I would say more than his matches, he’s thinking of my matches. I know it’s helping him release his tension as well, because I know how much pressure is there in men’s singles, it’s higher than in women’s singles,” says Nehwal.
As public figures in India, marriage has eased their proximity to each other, and that has helped on court.
“It’s much more easy to communicate and be together and as far as career is concerned, to read matches freely and roam around together,” says Nehwal, “We talk about matches 90 per cent of the time, there’s nothing else to talk about.”