Every year I am improving step by step: PV Sindhu
PV Sindhu says Korean coach Park Tae-sang and chief coach Pullela Gopichand are helping her hone new techniques and work on her strokes for the big season ahead.Updated: Jan 02, 2020, 09:09 IST
PV Sindhu had a special 2019, the year she finally shed the nearly tag to be crowned world champion. However, she could not win another title in the year, the Indonesia Open final and semi-finals of the India and Singapore Open events being the best she could manage outside the world championship.
The world No. 6 though has put those disappointments behind her and is focused on making a dream that she almost had in her grasp come true—Olympic gold.
The loss in the 2016 Rio Olympics final still hurts, and the 24-year-old’s goal this year will be to stand on top of the podium at the Tokyo Games . In an interview, Sindhu talks about her fluctuating form in 2019, the immediate target of qualifying for Tokyo.
How would you sum up 2019?
It was a good year for me. I had some ups and downs, but I won the most prestigious tournament—the World Championships—and I am very happy about it. Winning and losing is part of life, and part of the game, so you just have to believe in yourself and keep going. I would rate it as a good year.
Apart from the world championships, you lost early in some tournaments. How do you rate your recent form?
After the world championships I had a patch where I kept losing in the first round, pre-quarters, even quarter-finals, but it is very important to know what your mistakes are. I have to rectify them and comeback much stronger and not make those errors again. Sometimes, luck also matters. There are matches where you maintain the lead but suddenly lose ... it is all part of the game. You just have to be strong enough to come back.
In which areas did you improve as a player?
Every year I am improving step by step. Even in 2019, I learnt a couple of techniques and skills, which is very important. It is not like you play it one time and it will be with you. You have to practice every day, and I have been working on all my strokes.
This year is about the Olympics. How are you preparing for it?
Yes, it is about Tokyo, so the ultimate aim would be that. There are some more tournaments because the Olympic qualification is going on and it is very important. Everybody would be at their 100 percent and will give their best. You have to maintain yourself, stay mentally and physically fit.
You peaked very well during the Worlds. How will you replicate that at the Olympics?
I have been training hard. Everybody in the women’s circuit—the top 10 or 15 players—are of the same standard and everyone is going to prepare really well and hard and come out to fight. For that I have to prepare and work harder.
Where will your 2020 season begin?
The tournaments I will be playing would be at the start of the year, in Malaysia and Indonesia. I hope I do well in them.
After (Korean coach) Kim Ji-hyun quit, are you training under both Pullela Gopichand and Park Tae-sang? Have they introduced new techniques to your game and training regime?
I have been training under our Korean coach Park and Gopi sir. We have been working on strokes, new techniques and methods. I definitely hope things are going to work and I do well in the coming matches. When it comes to training and off-court sessions, I train at Suchitra Academy and do on-court work at Gopichand academy with Gopi sir and Park. It (technique) depends... we decide what needs to be done and rectify my mistakes. I still have to work on my strokes, and when it comes to endurance or rallies or different techniques I have to work on them too. It depends on the player because every individual has a different mindset and technique. It’s very important to know what the opponent is doing and you need to play accordingly.
You were retained by Hyderabad Hunters for Premier Badminton League 2020...
I am very excited about PBL 2020. I feel very happy and proud playing again for Hyderabad Hunters. I wish and hope we do well as a team. We have some newcomers. PBL altogether has a different atmosphere. These kind of leagues are played only once a year and it is completely different because it is a team event and you have to play for yourself and for the team. At the same time, it is very good for youngsters who can look up to the top players and get to know a lot more from them. These leagues must happen and everybody will really enjoy it, especially after the Olympics. A lot of people in India are following badminton and as a sport it has grown a lot.