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Interview with RMV Gurusaidutt: "Indian shuttlers on course to dominate world badminton"

Exclusive interview with RMV Gurusaidutt on his career so far, on his expectations going ahead.

RMV Gurusaidutt with the bronze medal at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games

Injuries can not only dent a player’s morale, but also can severely cripple his performance. Wriggling out of injuries is never easy, and Indian ace men’s shuttler RMV Gurusaidutt has had a torrid time with injuries over the last twelve months. However,he has done exceedingly well to come out of it, pulling off a runners-up finish at the 2014 Tata Open in Mumbai (where he lost to HS Pranoy in a tight summit clash) among other impressive performances. The 25-year-old shuttler, who is ranked 59 in the world, spoke on various topics concerning badminton in an exclusive interview.

Excerpts:

Q. How would you sum up your performance over the last twelve months?

Well, if you look I haven’t played too many tournaments over the last twelve months, but whatever few tournaments I have played I performed quite well, especially in important tournaments for India like Thomas Cup, Commonwealth Games and Asian Badminton Championships.

Q. You had reached the final of the Tata Open last December where you lost to HS Pranoy. Case of so near and yet so far.

The Tata Open has always been a good event for me and I was happy with the way I played. It was a high quality, long final match but Prannoy was better on that day.

Q. Your bronze medal effort at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games must have been really special. Your thoughts.

Yes, I trained really hard for the Commonwealth Games and I was glad that my efforts paid off. There were a lot of mixed emotions when I lost my semifinal match in the morning to Derek Wong. I had won the first game and was up 19-14 in the second but lost that match. It was tough for me to forget that loss and had a bronze medal match coming up against England’s Rajiv Ouseph whom I haven't beaten him in my three previous encounters. My coach Pullela Gopichand (Gopi sir) and my close friends really pumped me up for the evening match.

Q. You are currently ranked 59 and had once reached a career-high 19 in 2013. Does it bother you as dip in rankings can prevent you from playing in the top-notch tourneys?

Yes, it does bother a bit because the 2016 Rio Olympics is coming up but the drop in rankings was not because of my bad performance. I sustained multiple injuries over the last one year and the ranking drop was just because of the injuries and I couldn't play the big tournaments. I'm sure I will bounce back as I have the best coaches, training partners and world-class facilities at the Gopichand academy.

Q. What are your areas that need attention in your pursuit of excellence?

The first and the most important thing that affected my performance was my injuries, but now everything has been sorted out. I need to work on my strength on my legs and endurance as well as need to play more without any breaks. (injuries)

Q. The Indian Badminton League will be held later this year after the inaugural edition in 2013. How much has the league helped the sport in the country?

The Indian Badminton League was a hugely successful event – it really changed the scene in India; people started watching badminton and more kids started taking up badminton, all thanks to the Badminton Association of India (BAI) and the organisers for conducting the league. I’m really looking forward to the upcoming IBL.

Q. India have as many as five shuttlers in the top-50. Do you think Indians are well on course towards dominating world badminton?

Definitely Indian badminton is on course to be the best in the world. All the 5-7 Indian men's singles players are as good as the world’s top-10 players and I'm sure we'll see more players breaking into the top-10 and top-20.

Q. Tell us a bit about initiation to badminton – who did you first train under ?

I started my career when I was 10 at a summer camp at the LB Stadium under late Nani Prasad sir and Govardhan. I moved to the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy when it started in 2006 at the Gachibowli Stadium.and since then I have been training under Pullela Gopichand (Gopi sir).

Q. Do you think badminton has spread to every corner of the country – in terms of talents emerging from only a few states and not from all states?

Badminton has spread all over the nation and many youngsters are taking up badminton and the competition in India has increased at the national level.

Q. What are the forthcoming tournaments you are playing?

I’m in Poland playing the Polish Open and then I will be off to Delhi next week for the India Open Super Series. I will also be playing the Singapore Open in May.

Q. What are that other interests that you have besides playing badminton?

Whenever I have free time or off sessions, I like to play cricket and follow cricket and tennis quite a lot. I prefer to go home and spend time with family and cousins over the weekends.

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