Thursday, November 5, 2015

Focusing on my defence: Sindhu

This piece was published in Sportskeeda
PV Sindhu made all and sundry sit up and take notice of her with a runners-up finish in her maiden Super Series final at the recent Danish Open. The 20-year-old Hyderabad girl lost to Olympic champion Li Xuerui of China in the final, but not before vanquishing 3rd seed Tai Tzu Ying, 6th seed Wang Yihan and top-seed Carolina Marin. Sindhu, who is probably the one of the youngest players to win the Arjuna and Padma Shri awards at the age of 20, spoke about her game and much more in an exclusive interview.


Q How satisfying it is to finish runners-up at the recent Danish Open?

It was my first Super Series final and that itself makes the occasion special. I lost to Olympic champion Li Xuerei in a contest where, I had my chances and even led 16-10 in the first game which I lost 19-21. I trailed 4-13 in the second game and from then on it was difficult to catch up as she was playing really well. I’m quite chuffed with my runners-up finish.

Q You upset three higher ranked players en route to the final. You got the better of 3rd seed Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan and former world number one and 6th seed Wang Yihan of China in the second round and quarterfinals respectively. And both were straight game wins.

I upset both Tai and Wang in straight games, but it does not mean those were easy wins for me. I really had to dig deep to put it across them. Both matches had a lot of rallies and it was just that I ended up winning most of them in both matches.

Q Of course, you will cherish your massive win over world number one Carolina Marin of Spain in the semifinals.

I have never beaten her before, so it was really satisfying to beat her. I won the opening game but Carolina rebounded and won the second game before I dished out my best in the decider to make it to the final.

Q You have twice won bronze medals at the World Championships, besides garnering a bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games – do you feel your runners-up finish at the Danish Open is your best?

It has to be one of the best performances for sure. I entered the final of a Super Series for the first time and I will cherish this effort for a long time to come.

Q You are just 20 – you have already won the coveted Arjuna and Padma Shri awards – something not many attain at your age.

I feel honoured to receive these coveted awards and they mean a lot to me. I don’t know how many have got these awards at my age but it is pleasing feeling to have these awards in your cupboard. I still feel I have a long road ahead of me.

Q Every player looks to improve – what do you think should be the main focus areas going forward?

I think I have improved my defence and there is always room for improvement. I still need to improve more in this aspect of the game.

Q Indian badminton is looking up – how do you assess the future?

Indian badminton is in great health – so many players are coming up and performing on the international stage. The likes of Saina, Kashyap, Srikanth, Sai, Pranoy are all doing well and I’m sure the future of the sport is bright.

Q The Indian Badminton League (IBL) will be held after a gap of two years. Your thoughts.

The IBL is a great concept – I’m sure our juniors can benefit a lot from the league like we are at the senior level.

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