Interview with Parupalli Kashyap: "Want to beat top guys on surfaces where shuttle comes slowly"
India’s ace shuttler Parupalli Kashyap has taken all the ‘excitement’ of beating world number one Chen Long at the recent Indonesian Open in his stride as he focuses on the forthcoming 2015 World Championships to be held in Jakarta in August.
The 28-year-old shuttler became the first Indian singles player in 14 years to beat a reigning world number one – Pullela Gopichand last attained it beating Peter Gade to win the 2011 All England Championship. In fact, Kashyap is the first Indian singles player to beat a reigning world number one under the 21 points system. Kashyap, ranked 12th in the world, spoke about his big win over Chen Long among others in an exclusive interview.
Q: How was it beating world number one Chen Long of China in the quarter-finals of the Indonesian Open?
A:It is a ‘big feeling’ beating a player of Chen Long’s stature but I had to shut off all the ‘excitement’ as I had to play the semifinals against Japan’s Kento Momota next day. Looking back, it would have been a ‘grand feeling’ if I had beaten Chen Long in the final and won the tournament. At a personal level, off course this win will be a big boost to my confidence. I played really well to beat him.
Q: You became the first Indian men’s singles player in 14 years to beat a reigning world number one – your coach Pullela Gopichand was the last Indian to attain this feat when he pipped Denmark’s Peter Gade to win the 2001 All England Championship. How does that feel?
A: Stats are for the record books, but it’s good to know that I have done something after so many years. I was not aware about this and only came to know about it after I got the better of Chen Long.
Q: What really went wrong in your semifinal against Kento Momota?
A: I think I should have won that match. I won’t say I was suffering from any lapses in concentration, but I was not relaxed playing the closing points. I got tensed and lost five points on the trot. Of course, Kento is a solid player and the fact that he went on to win the Indonesian Open is an indication of that.
Q: The World Championships is your next stop – how do you assess your chances?
A:Well, I believe I’m playing the best badminton of my career and if I keep training the way I do and stay injury-free there is no reason why I can’t fare well in the World Championships. It is a big-ticket event and doing well will stand me in good stead for the future.
Q: There is a feeling that you have the ammunition to beat top guys – something you have consistently achieved over the years – but you have upset the big guns in a tourney only to bow out in next round or thereafter. Your thoughts.
A:I’m not sure why it is happening – I’m working on my consistency – I feel I need to have one outstanding week in a big tournament, something which will do a world of good to my confidence.
Q: How important it is for a shuttler to win in all conditions – surfaces where the shuttle comes fast and surfaces where the shuttle comes slow?
A: I would like to beat top players and win tournaments in all conditions. The conditions in the Indonesian Open suited my attacking style while Chen Long is more of a defensive player, who likes to wear down his opponent. I would love to beat top players like Chen Long on surfaces where the shuttle comes slowly off the air and on such surfaces somebody like Chen Long can be lethal.
Q: How do you think one should avoid injuries?
A: It is imperative to strike a proper balance in your training as overtraining can only be detrimental to a player. I believe balancing one’s training can hugely help to minimise injuries if not fully avoid them.
Q: Finally, what do you think about India’s challenge in the 2015 World Championships?
Indian shuttlers should fare well in the 2015 World Championships – the likes of Saina, Sindhu, Srikanth besides me will strive to do well for the country.