Unlike in the past, PV Sindhu got a rousing welcome as soon as she appeared for the opening ceremony of the Syed Modi International Grand Prix Gold Badminton Championship at Lucknow on Tuesday.
Fans and officials of the Badminton Association of India (BAI) greeted her by seeking autographs as almost everyone wanted to congratulate her for the title win at the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold on Sunday.
“It’s a great response to my success and I’m overwhelmed,” Sindhu was quick to remark on the eve of the main draw of the $120,000 event.
“The support of fans keeps me motivated and I am going to enjoy this following in my quest for the title here,” said Sindhu, adding, “I am here to win and I will try and not disappoint my fans.”
Sindhu, who continued her good run to clinch the title in Malaysia with a straight-game win over Scotland’s Kristy Gilmour, admitted that it was a great start to the season. “It’s the Olympic year and I would love to win as many titles as I can.”
“I have been playing well and I was confident of winning (in Malaysia) ahead of the final. In fact, the semifinal was a tough match, but the win boosted my confidence,” said Sindhu, who is seeded third.
“I had not expected the final to be so easy. I had played her (Kristy) in 2013 but it was a different match and I am a different player now. I took the lead and didn’t relax and it turned out to be a one-sided match.”
“It’s an important year as there are plenty of events and I would like to win as many as I can,” said the two-time World Championship bronze-medallist, who will begin her campaign against Riya Mookerjee on Wednesday, when the main draw matches begin.
Sindhu, who had an unbeaten streak in the just-concluded Premier Badminton League (PBL), claimed that winning a medal at the Rio Olympics was on top of her list, but is also aiming for the All England title this season.
“For me, the country comes first and winning an Olympic medal is very much on the mind. At the same time, I would love to win the All England Championship as it’s the biggest honour for a shuttler,” said Sindhu, who won’t have to face world No 1 Carolina Marin of Spain and world No 2 Saina Nehwal here as the two have skipped the event.
“It’s not going to be easy even though Carolina and Saina aren’t in the fray. I need to play with consistency and I am ready for this,” said Sindhu.