Stop being sceptical, says Gopichand

P Gopichand

An hour after his ward P V Sindhu had lost to Tai Tzu Ying in the Asian Games badminton women’s singles final, Pullela Gopichand paid the ultimate compliment to the Chinese Taipei player.

“I don’t think in world badminton, there has ever been a girl who has been as deceptive as Tai,” said Gopichand, in a matter of fact manner. The Indian coach had just watched Tai dismantle Sindhu’s game with ease, finding impossible angles in her placements, firing in irretrievable smashes and spotting vacant spaces with panache. 

“I think Tai really played well. She kept it simple. There were only a few rallies where Sindhu looked she could be back in the match. But they came very late. If she had that energy and rhythm earlier, then probably things would have been different but we won’t know how Tai would have reacted had Sindhu done so,” said Gopi.

This was Tai’s tenth win over Sindhu and the sixth in the last six matches. Gopi, brushing aside any psychological factors, acknowledged the Chinese Taipei player’s superiority.

“At the end of the day, we all love to win the gold. Most of all Sindhu would want to win the gold so that people stop talking the way they are doing. But to come back from the Asiad with the silver medal, from the World Championships with the silver medal, there is enough to be proud of. We will always have sceptics who will say what they have to. Hopefully we will reverse that in the future.”

The former All England champion felt Tai has come a long way since Sindhu last beat her at the Rio Olympic Games. “She is playing longer without making mistakes. Now consistency has come. She is deceptive, she is powerful, she has endurance and speed. This combination makes her the winner.”

Gopi said the Indians need to go back to the drawing board to crack the Tai puzzle. “On this day, there is very little we could have done. Maybe we need to go back and work on some strokes and things so that these problems are sorted out.”

With Sindhu winning silver and Saina the bronze, India return with their best-ever haul in Asiad badminton. “I am very proud of them. They fought really hard. For Saina to beat Ratchanok (Intanon in the quarters) when it mattered was a big thing. She also completed her medal set — World Championships, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. We won two medals, could have got the gold but Tai Tzu deserved to win today.”

 

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Stop being sceptical, says Gopichand

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