Next three weeks crucial for Sindhu, says Gopi

Next three weeks crucial for Sindhu, says Gopi

LOOKING AHEAD: P V Sindhu has had a less than ideal season so far compared to her previous performances. AFP

It has been a tough year for P V Sindhu. In seven tournaments this season, she has managed just two semifinals. Coach Pullela Gopichand blamed it on the whirlwind schedule on tour and is confident the 24-year-old would soon return to the winning ways.

The badminton great was satisfied with the four weeks of training Sindhu had under the guidance of Korean coaches Kim Ji Hyun and Park Tae Sang and believed the coming three weeks comprising the ongoing Indonesia Open, Japan and Thailand Open, would give a real assessment of Olympic silver medallist’s form.

“Sindhu has worked really hard, the new coaches have worked on her extensively and she has focused on her fitness as well. She has worked on her improving her defence and adding more strokes. I am eager to see what kind of performances she gives in the next three weeks. That will be an indication of where she will be heading. Sindhu is somebody who is not far from good performances at any point in time,” Gopichand told DH.

“So I am not worried about her bad results. Having said that, the last year in December when she won the World tour finals is the testimony that she can win big events, and beat the big players. It is just a matter of time.”

Gopichand, however, rued the heavy workload since the last season which took its toll on the shuttlers, including former World No.1 Kidambi Srinkanth and Saina Nehwal.

“Both our men and women shuttlers have had a few injuries, new coaches too came on board.

Saina had to pull out of Indonesia. She is a brave girl and she is fighting it out. Years of workload on her body is showing up. But she is someone who doesn’t give up so easily, so I hoping she will be back soon. Srikanth was unfortunate to have a couple of freak injuries-first ankle and then knee. Park has worked with him,” Gopichand said.

“One of the major things was we didn’t have time to prepare. It has been quite strenuous; we were playing back to back. Only after Sudirman Cup we got, for the first time, a four-week stint of training. So I am hoping the performance will be better in these coming weeks.“

The race for qualification to Tokyo Olympics will only make things tougher and Gopichand hoped at least few Indians would make the cut by January.

“This is something which has happened year after year. The only saving grace we have is the three-month window, after the qualification, where you can rest and prepare. I just hope some of them qualify by January and get to prepare for 5-6 months.”