Staying injury-free is the biggest challenge: Srikanth

Staying injury-free is the biggest challenge: Srikanth

India's Srikanth Kidambi aims to clinch gold in the upcoming Asian Games. (PTI file photo)

The defence of four Super Series titles this season is not bothering Kidambi Srikanth as the ace shuttler is focused on staying injury-free and winning a gold medal at the upcoming Asian Games.

"The biggest challenge for me these days is to maintain my fitness. I actually have issues with both my ankles. After the Olympics I had issues with my right ankle but last year I hurt my left ankle at the Nationals. So I have to be more careful before I plan my tournaments. So staying away from injury, that is what I am trying to do," Srikanth told PTI. "Going forward there are four-five tournaments which are important this year, so the idea is to play at my 100 percent in all of them, without getting injured," added the 25-year-old.

Srikanth was in sensational form last season when he clinched four super series titles --- French Open, Denmark Open, Australian Open and Indonesian Open.

"I am not worried about matching last year's performances because for me this year there are very few tournaments which I am actually thinking to do well," he said.

"In January, I set myself a couple of goals. One of them was the medal at the Commonwealth Games, and the next goal is to win a medal at Asian Games, because these two tournaments are really big and you don't get to play every year." 

Talking about his schedule, Srikanth said: "I am playing three successive tournaments Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand and then I will skip the Singapore Open."

"I will take a break and play the World Championship and then again train and play at the Asian Games. Until the end of August, these are the five tournaments that I will be playing and I am not thinking much ahead."

Srikanth became the world no 1 in April during the Commonwealth Games and he said the achievement has relaxed his mind and chasing the numero uno status again is no more his priority.

"For a couple of months, I was almost there being world no 2, so it was always there in my mind that I missed out of being world no 1, so to actually achieve that feat had relaxed me a lot. Now I'm not worried about anything," said Srikanth, currently ranked fourth.

Srikanth was criticised for skipping the prestigious Thomas Cup but the Indian said he was forced to take the decision to give rest to his body after a gruelling Commonwealth Games.

"It was a tough decision to skip Thomas Cup. It's my doctor who wanted to give my ankles rest to recover because I had a hectic Commonwealth Games. I played about 11-12 matches in 10-11 days and I didn't get any rest during the whole tournament. Not all the matches were difficult but you still had to prepare the same way for every match," he said.