All England Open 2018: How Indian shuttlers are learning to serve again with the help of International umpire
In two weeks time, the All England Open, arguably the most prestigious badminton tournament out there, will be upon us. This year's edition will be more exciting as the new service rule will be tested for the first time.
The new rule, which states, "the whole of the shuttle should be below 1.15m from the surface of the court at the instant of being hit by the server's racket," was inspired by the need to overcome questionable decisions made by service judges. The general consensus is, it will have a direct effect on the taller players.
To cope with the new rule, the Indian shuttlers have been practising in the presence of renowned international umpire Vemuri Sudhakar, who has officiated in three Olympics. Apparently, it was chief coach Pullela Gopichand who requested the services of Sudhakar.
B. Sai Praneeth confirmed the development to Sportskeeda as he said, "Yes, (Vemuri) Sudhakar came in today and briefed us about the new rule. But because the equipment hasn't arrived yet, there was not much he could do."
However, Chirag Shetty, India's rising star in doubles, told Sportskeeda that while the equipment hasn't arrived yet, Sudhakar has made a wooden stick to measure the serves for the time being.
"(Pullela) Gopichand has arranged for an international umpire, (Vemuri) Sudhakar, who is helping us out with the new service rule from today. He has made a wooden stick, similar to the one that the umpires will be using in the tournaments. We haven't yet got the actual measuring device, so he is using the makeshift wooden stick," he said.
"The new rule is really bad for us tall players. It's more difficult for us to serve from below 1.15m. Suddenly to change into that has not been easy. However, we've been practising it for a while now and we are slowly getting the hang of it," the 20-year-old said.
It will be interesting to see how the Indians, especially the taller ones, adjust to this new change in the game and how quickly they can adapt to it. For, the faster they can, the sooner they can concentrate on developing the other aspects of their game.