Saturday, February 21, 2015

No player is unbeatable: Sourabh Varma

Injuries can be a dampener for a player, but there are times when a player derives an extra dose of inspiration and steps up his game by a few notches. Indian shuttler Sourabh Varma apparently did the same winning the men’s singles gold medal for his home state Madhya Pradesh at the 35th National Games – the only gold for his state – getting the better of Haryana’s Akshit Mahajan in the final showdown.

The 22-year-old Madhya Pradesh lad cornered glory at the 35th National Games in Kerala despite carrying an elbow injury, which got even more severe after his semifinal match. Sourabh, who is ranked 66 in the world, spoke about his plans for 2015 and much more in an exclusive interview.

Q You won the gold at the recent National Games for Madhya Pradesh - the only yellow metal for your state despite carrying an injury. Tell us your experiences?


It was not easy to play with an injured elbow. I was experiencing little pain from the start of the tournament, which aggravated after my semifinal match. But I did not want to miss out on an opportunity of fetching a gold medal in National Games, so I just focused on giving my best despite the injury.

Q How would you sum up your singles performance in 2014?


Well, 2014 had been a good year. I started the year with bagging two international titles – Austria and Iran – followed by a runners-up finish at the Malaysia GPG. I was also part of the national team for the Thomas Cup and Asian Games, which gave me immense satisfaction.

Q Which were your most cherished wins last year?


Winning tournaments in Iran and Austria and my runners-up finish at the Malaysia GPG.

Q You had once reached a world ranking of 30 but now you are outside the top-50. What would you attribute to the fall in ranking?


I don't think much about ranking but obviously I fell short in giving my best there.

Q What are the grey areas you think you want to work on?


I think I need to be strong in every area of the game because at the world level every player has a different style of game.

Q The year 2011 was a turning point in your career - you won the senior nationals as well as your first international singles crown?


Yes, it was great year indeed. My performance that year really boosted my confidence.

Q Who according to you is the most difficult shuttler to play against?


In reality, nobody is difficult to play. With the right amount of concentration and drive any player can be defeated.

Q How do you look at the state of Indian badminton?


It has improved immensely over the past couple of years. People are becoming more familiar to the game and the BAI has also taken great initiatives to popularize the game. I’m happy with the progress Indian Badminton is making.

Q You trained under the watchful eyes of Pullela Gopichand at his Hyderabad-based academy. How has been the experience of training under him?


The experience has been good. After joining the academy I improved my game a lot; whatever I have achieved at the senior level till now, its because of Gopi sir's guidance.

Q What goals you have for the year 2015?


I want to break in the top-20 by the end of the year.

Q How do you unwind when you are free from training and playing commitments?


I like listening to music.
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