Srikanth to cut down on tourneys

Srikanth to cut down on tourneys

EYEING FORM: Kidambi Srikanth at a media interaction in Bengaluru on Monday. DH photo

Staying at the top is a daunting task. Kidambi Srikanth, India’s best men’s shuttler in recent times, knows the demands of being a consistent player at the highest level.

Srikanth has completed a largely lacklustre season, in which his brief stint as the world No 1 and a twin-medal show at the Commonwealth Games were the only bright spots.    

In 2017, Srikanth had everything going for him. The Hyderabad player scripted history by becoming the first Indian to reach the finals of three straight Super Series events. The terrific run took him to third in the world rankings but Srikanth failed to repeat his feats this year. A leg injury in the fag end of 2017 had a massive impact on his performances this year.  

“You can’t predict injuries,” he said. “But I could have stopped myself from rushing behind the rankings. I think that’s where I slipped. I think it’s more important to give your 100 per cent. I am focusing on being better and fitter. That should help me break into the top four of the rankings,” Srikanth said on the sideline’s of an interaction with his Premier Badminton League club Bengaluru Raptors here on Monday. 

Looking ahead, the 25-year-old is clear about his plans. Srikanth’s main priority will be to keep a check on the tournaments.

“I have decided to not play many tournaments, especially when I am not fit. I am focusing on getting enough time before each tournament. I have decided to play not more than 12 Super Series this year. For now, there are two tournaments coming up in Indonesia and Malaysia. After that, there is the All England tournament in March. So I am preparing for these three tournaments,” Srikanth offered. 

Currently ranked eighth in the world, Srikanth played 10 BWF tournaments.

Srikanth admitted he faced the pressure of staying in the top three. “Every player undergoes this phase. I need to learn to concentrate just on playing well in the tournaments and not to worrying about the rest,” he said. 

Srikanth said playing in PBL is an ideal preparation for the next season.

“The fact is I will be playing the first singles throughout the league. That’s the reason I will be facing the top players like Anders Antonsen and Viktor Axelsen. So I am really looking forward to playing and get that match practice. In PBL matches, I can play without any pressure. I will be able to play much better here than in a Super Series. So PBL will tell me where I stand on a comeback trail. This league will definitely help me understand my positives and negatives,” he explained.  Srikanth said a good 2019 will help him get ready for the all important Tokyo Olympics in 2020. But he was quick to admit that the task ahead won’t be easy.

“Men’s game has become tougher. There are many players from different countries doing well. It’s a good sign and I am glad I am in the mix. 2020 is definitely in my mind. In the bigger picture, that’s my main goal. And that’s why this new season is crucial. Till March next year, I need to be in good form to get the desired ranking and get myself ready for the big event,” he said.

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