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PV Sindhu tweaks training to avoid ‘mental, fitness’ slip-ups of 2017

PV Sindhu’s first big test of 2018 will be at the All England Open, starting on March 14. Sindhu, 22, was silver-medallist at the 2016 Rio Olympics and at last year’s world championships and year-ending tournament.

other sports Updated: Feb 20, 2018 21:59 IST
Sarthak Bal
Sarthak Bal
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
PV Sindhu,Indian badminton,2016 Rio Olympics
PV Sindhu won the India and Korea Open Superseries titles in 2017(AFP/Getty Images)

PV Sindhu continues to set the standard in Indian badminton, but India’s top woman player attributed two heartbreaking losses in 2017 to minor flaws which she is keen to iron out to achieve fresh glory.

Sindhu, 22, was silver-medallist at the 2016 Rio Olympics and at last year’s world championships and year-ending tournament.

READ | PV Sindhu wants to change colour of Olympic medal from silver to gold

But Japanese rivals blocked her bid for the world title – she lost a draining final 19-21 22-20 20-22 to Nozomi Okuhara – and the year-ending Dubai World Superseries, where she lost to Akane Yamaguchi (21-15 12-21 19-21) in the title clash.

“I think (the close defeats) it is both mental and fitness-related. Getting to that final stage is so tough in itself. Sometimes you may just lose it, but I always gave my best. Both the World Championships and Dubai Series were close matches,” Sindhu said on Tuesday at a promotional event.

However, she won the India and Korea Open Superseries titles in 2017. The world No 4 admitted the pressure of expectations, but is focused on fresh training methods to raise her level.

“There have been some changes in terms of mental and physical conditioning. They are both important. I am definitely working on my strokes, but there is lot of emphasis on fitness in badminton these days because matches go on for an hour to 90 minutes.”

READ | PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth to lead Indian badminton squad at Commonwealth Games

Sindhu’s first big test of 2018 will be at the All England Open (starts March 14).

“Expectations have risen after the Olympics and to keep up to those, I have to work so much harder. They (fans) want us to win every tournament. Of course, that is tough at times but I always give my best,” Sindhu said. “Getting to that level was hard but staying there is tougher… I want to achieve so much more.

“It’s not easy, the top 20 players are all at the same level. So, it all comes down to the individual’s form on the day.”

With the Commonwealth Games (April) and Asian Games (Aug-Sept) adding to the workload this year, Sindhu feels players must be selective.

“The schedule is already out so we cannot complain about it… Fitness and injuries are part of everyone’s life. Sometimes you may not be confident enough, so I would leave it to the player.”

First Published: Feb 20, 2018 21:53 IST