HS Prannoy looks to overcome inconsistency en route to badminton glory
HS Prannoy is ranked a career-high world No 8. From Lin Dan to Lee Chong Wei, he has beaten them all. But the 25-year-old is yet to reach the heights and win tournaments that would justify his talent.
Pullela Gopichand’s protégé has also lost several close contests that have proved costly in his career. However, Prannoy is confident of getting his act together.
“It is just a matter of time, of probably breaking the jinx once... going on and winning one tournament and things will fall into place. I will know exactly what I need to do on that particular day about things not going my way. I am trying to sort it out, and am slowly getting better,” said Prannoy.
“Probably in Asian Championships it was much better from my side, lot of crucial matches where I had to think out of the box and play; that really helped.”
This year too, Prannoy lost in the opening round of the Syed Modi Grand Prix in Lucknow, to a much lower-ranked Shreyansh Jaiswal. He lost in the quarterfinals of the All England Open before making the semis at the Badminton Asia Championships, beating then World No 1 Son Wan-ho on the way.
Though he did not win an individual medal at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Prannoy is satisfied with his current form. However, he laments the loss of close matches, especially where he squandered match points.
“It is tough to forget those... like in All England or CWG. There were a couple of matches where it went the other way. I really wanted to play the semi-final at All England. CWG was a bad day for me; I couldn’t finish it off despite a couple of match points and didn’t really try in the third game; mentally I was off,” said Prannoy.
“I have had a couple of bad matches but I always feel these are the things which make you learn and make you think that you need to do something extra, out of the box, each and every time such a situation comes. You try, try and try and someday it will click and you will know this is the way you need to do it.”
In Kidambi Srikanth and Prannoy, India has two male shuttlers in the world’s top 10 – something that has not happened in a long time. A healthy rivalry is developing between the two friends who train together at the Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad. Srikanth, however, has a 3-1 career advantage over Prannoy.
“It is not really a rivalry, but yeah that is how it is when the top two players of the country play against each other. It is really good for Indian badminton because we have two players in the top 10 -- there was no such rivalry earlier,” said Prannoy, whose last tournament win was at the US Open in July 2017.
“First it was Anup Sridhar, then P Kashyap, but there were no rivalries at that time. Srikanth has done really well in the last season and raised the bar – a Superseries winner to be in the top chart. That gives me a lot of motivation because if he can do it, then I am not far.”