Need to be on your toes now: Sindhu

Need to be on your toes now: Sindhu

PV Sindhu says she's unfazed by criticism but uses that to motivate herself in pursuit of gold. DH PHOTO/ SK DINESH

When PV Sindhu conquered Nozomi Okuhara in the World Tour Finals last month, the relief on her face was there for the world to see. The talented shuttler had started developing a bad habit of bungling on the big stage.

The 23-year-old had crashed to heart-breaking defeats in five finals -- India Open, Commonwealth Games, Thailand Open, World Championship and Asian Games -- in 2018. Add the final losses at the 2016 Rio Olympics, 2017 World Championships and 2017 World Tour Finals, the statistics didn’t paint a happy picture. Critics were quick to train their guns on her, citing mental weakness as one of the reasons for her failure to deliver the knock-out punch.

So when Sindhu swept into the final in commanding fashion at Guangzhou, all eyes were on her. The Hyderabadi, completely aware of the pressure, dished out a commanding performance against Okuhara to silence the critics.

Looking charged up for an encore this season, Sindhu, representing Hyderabad Hunters in the Premier Badminton League, said she felt extremely delighted to snap the final jinx. “I felt very happy,” said Sindhu during an interaction with the media. “I was not satisfied with winning silver in the 2017 Super Series Finals. This year, I thought I have to win the final. I felt that it should be different.”

Sindhu said she didn’t take criticism to heart. “I never felt bad about criticism. When you lose, you tend to feel bad or nervous. But I never felt that criticism is bad, or felt like ‘why are they always criticising me?’. I was very happy to make it to finals. The way I looked at it was that I won a silver, rather than viewing it as a loss in the final.

“I have to be proud about winning a silver. It’s better than losing in the first round. It’s a thin line between winning and losing -- you have to be strong and take in a positive way. If you rectify the few mistakes made earlier and come back stronger, that’s enough.”

Unlike a few years ago when Chinese ruled the world with an iron fist, the circuit now wears an open look. Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei is the World No 1 while only two Chinese players are in the top-10. Sindhu hailed the emergence of talent from others that’s made the tour very competitive.

“From 1-20 all are of the same standard. Everybody is doing well. It is not about just one country. From China, there are junior players coming up, Japan has (Akane) Yamaguchi and Okuhara, Korea has Sung-Ji Hyun, from Chinese Taipei and Spain, good players are there. So you have to give your 100 per cent from round 1 until the last. You cannot take things for granted. You have good rankings and you will get easier opponents.”

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