GLASGOW(Reuters) - Venkata Pusarla Sindhu has to contend not only with the hopes of her nation but the pressure of impressing her most famous fan in the Commonwealth Games badminton competition.
The 19-year-old knows that her country’s most well-known sportsman, cricket great Sachin Tendulkar, will be taking a keen interest when she competes in the women’s singles in Glasgow starting on Tuesday.
The master batsman and leading run-scorer in test history presented her with a car when she became the first Indian to win the junior Asian Championship in 2012.
"I met him (Tendulkar) and he gave me a car, I was very happy,” Sindhu said. “He said, 'well done' and he congratulated me. It was a real surprise.”
Sinhu, the top seed, is among the favourites to win gold in Glasgow after her Indian team mate and defending Commonwealth Games champion Saina Nehwal withdrew due to injury.
“You can give your best, but sometimes your strokes won't go and it's not your day," she said.
"Even though some of the players are not up to your level, from the first point you have to play your game and finish it off. You should not take anything lightly."
Editing by Ed Osmond