The moment has arrived, and so have the players. World No. 6 Peter Gade was the first to land in India to participate in the India Open Super Series starting on April 26 at the Sirifort Complex. The Hindustan Times caught up with the dazzling Dane:
All geared up?
Oh yes. I am up for the battle and will settle for nothing less than the title itself.
This is for the first time India is holding a Super Series event. Your take?
The last time I was in India for the World Championships in 2009, I immensely enjoyed the experience. Though there were some glitches like the security threats to the event that scared some of the big teams away, including England, I didn't flinch.
Did you follow the action during the Commonwealth Games in the Capital?
Sure. I made it a point not to miss even an iota of it and observed every player closely. I even managed to catch all the games of Saina Nehwal. I am absolutely flattered by her technique.
What do you like about Saina?
Well, the brute force, the speed, the footwork and selection of shots, you name it and you have it. Her finishing and execution of shots is absolutely fantastic. Her game is a reflection of her grit, determination and strength. I even saw her game at the All-England recently. The finesse of her game will take her a long way.
How do you rate your chances here?
It's not going to be a cakewalk. Though the absence of the Chinese, who are busy with their domestic league, makes it somewhat less difficult, I still have to run through the obstacle course well enough to take anyone down. I have a tough draw and if I want to win the title, I will have to knock off the challenges from world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei, Indonesia's Taufik Hidayat, Thailand's Boonsak Ponsana and a few Korean players. And it's surely not going to be easy.
What do you have to say about India's chances in men's singles?
India have a good crop of upcoming players like P. Kashyap and Guru Saidutt (runner-up of India Open 2010). They still have a long way to go but from their recent showings show they have a lot of promise.
How do you like the venue?
This is only my first day here. The courts are playing well and I haven't faced any trouble so far. But the best thing is the crowd that eggs you on. That really spurs you on.
How many times do you think you might use your lethal weapon, the 'double-action' shot?
(Smiles)…Well, that depends on the opponent, really. I will leave no stone unturned to nail the one on the other end.