This piece was published in Sportskeeda
Parupalli Kashyap remained the country’s top-ranked men’s singles player for a fairly long time before K Srikanth surpassed him earlier this year. The Hyderabad lad, who is India’s first men’s singles player to reach the quarterfinals of the Olympics, had a mixed bag kind of year with slew of injuries not helping his cause. The 28-year-old touches on various issues concerning the game in an exclusive interview.
You started the year with a singles ranking of 16. You hovered in the twenties for a long time and now you are back again at number sixteen. How would you sum up your performance in 2014?
I had a decent performance this year; of course, it could have been better if the injuries did not come in my way. I sustained shoulder and hip injuries this year, which affected my rankings to some extent, but overall I’m happy with my efforts this year.
You had the satisfaction of being the country’s top ranked men’s singles player for a fairly long time before K Srikanth surpassed you in February this year. How disappointing was it for you?
Obviously to be the country’s top ranked men’s singles is hugely satisfying and of course I’m disappointed to lose that status to K Srikanth, who has been playing really well over the past twelve months or so.
You reached the semi-finals of the 2014 Swiss Open and 2014 Denmark Open. Looking ahead, do you think you could have done better this year?
Like I said before, I could have fared better if I stayed injury-free but I have taken everything in my stride and staying positive.
You scaled your career-high ranking of 6 in April 2013. You are 28 now – do you think the best of Parupalli Kashyap is yet to come?
There is no doubt about that. I have six-seven years of top-notch badminton in me and I don’t doubt my abilities one bit. I still desire win the All England Championships, World Championship besides an Olympic medal before I retire. I’m keen to accomplish them in the coming years.
Do you think the might of Chinese, Malaysian, Korean, Japanese, Indonesian among shuttlers of other nations are wary of the Indian players in terms of doing more pre-match homework?
Exactly! Indian shuttlers are consistently doing well in international events and when players do well, opponent tend to do a lot of pre-match homework and I have no doubts that the Indians are watched more by opponents in terms of strategizing and planning.
What would you have to say about the dream run of K Srikanth as a senior international player?
Srikanth has been having a phenomenal 2014. He has won the China Open and stayed very consistent this year breaking into the top-10. He is high on self-belief and has matured as a player.
The Indian Badminton League (IBL) started in 2013 and the second edition will be held next year. Do you think money is pouring into badminton in the country?
The IBL is a great concept and players are benefiting a lot. Having said that, I feel a beginning has been made through IBL, but a lot more needs to done before badminton can become the money-spinner like some other sports.
Finally, what are your goals for 2015?
First and foremost I want to stay injury-free and once I do that I’m pretty confident of breaking into the top-10. Hopefully, I would steer clear of injuries and achieve what I intend to.