Working hard in search of perfection

P V Sindhu says while her game has improved over the last year, there is still a long way to go to reach the top

Working hard in search of perfection

If there is someone that the nation looks to carry forward Indian badminton’s baton from Saina Nehwal, it is her mate from Hyderabad, P V Sindhu.

Sindhu enjoyed a fruitful 2014 season as she not only helped the women’s team claim the bronze medal in the Uber Cup and at the Incheon Asiad, she also went on to retain the Macau Open title she won a year ago, besides wining a bronze at the Commonwealth Games (CWG) in Glasgow and the World Championships.

The world number 11, who was in Bangalore to participate in the PSPB inter-unit badminton championships, spoke to Deccan Herald, sharing insights on her season, road map for the upcoming year and also about the pressure she has to deal with. Excerpts:
India have had a good year in badminton. How do you assess the performances in the season gone by?

Indian badminton standards have certainly gone up with quality performances throughout the season. Though Saina’s and Srikanth’s wins would top every list, I believe many others have also come to the forefront with some top quality performances. Kashyap winning the Commonwealth Games gold is one such example.

On a personal front, I am very happy the way season panned out for me. Bronze at the Commonwealth Games and the World Championships, helping India win a bronze at the Uber Cup and the Asiad and ending the season by retaining my Macau title, the journey has been satisfying. I would like to carry on this momentum into the new season.

Have you made any changes in your practice routines this year for better results?
There has been no drastic change in my approach this season. At the end of the last year we had noted few areas where I had to work on to improve the game. And that is what I have done. My defence was an area of concern and that is something that I am still working on.

My game has improved compared to the previous season. I have worked on my mistakes and I am still trying hard to achieve perfection in many areas of the game. Though it has improved, I think I still have to work hard to sharpen my skills.

People tend to compare you with your senior pro, Saina. Do you feel the pressure to perform has increased in the recent past?

Not really. I do not think the pressure has increased in any sense. There is always a pressure to perform when you go out to play a tournament. But that is usual. We players are used to performing under such pressure. Apart from this, I do not feel any added pressure.

I see many players coming up not only in Hyderabad, but also from Bengaluru. I believe that it’s a good thing for Indian badminton. I need to train hard to be the best among all and that is what I am aiming at.

Though people compare me with Saina and tag me the ‘Next Saina’, I do not think that in any way has hampered my progress. On the court we have a rivalry and both of us want to win every game we play but outside the playing arena we are good friends and we would like to maintain that. I believe it is good that we have a healthy competition going on to be the best.

With the success of Indian players against their Chinese opponents in the recent past, has the players’ mentality changed when facing a higher ranked player?

There has been a change, but I do not think that it matters much. Be it a higher ranked player or a lower ranked player, what matters is how one plays on the day of the game. The quality of badminton has increased leaps and bounds across the world that we can no longer take any of the players lightly. Junior players from Asian countries have now started making their way into the finals of high profile events. The player I faced in the Macau final (Kim Hyo-min of South Korea) was one such example. So, I believe it’s not about being higher ranked, your game of the day is what matters because you cannot say who can spring a surprise and when.

The upcoming season is of great importance with Olympic qualification at stake. Do you have a plan chalked out for the season?

It is the Olympic qualification year and I want to perform well and win as many titles as I can. I do not have a long term plan for the season as I want to take one tournament at a time. I will be starting my season with the Syed Modi Indian Grand Prix and then I will take a call on events that I would want to play.

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