Interview with Kidambi Srikanth: "Pullela Gopichand is India's best coach till date"
The upcoming World Badminton Championship is of prime focus for India’s top men singles shuttler Kidambi Srikanth. The 22-year-old is feeling good after some strenuous practice sessions over the last few weeks for the big-ticket event to be held in China. Srikanth, who won two singles titles this year, is upbeat about going the distance if he can consistent. He spoke in an exclusive interview.
Q You must be raring to go for the upcoming BWF World Championship?
A: I have been putting in the hard yards over the last few years and hope to fare well in the World Championship. It won’t be easy but I will give my best shot.
Q Your are ranked fourth in the world – do you believe you can go the distance in the World Championship?
A: I think if I bring out my A-game in each match, I’m sure of conquering anyone along the way. It’s all about putting your best show in every match.
Q Who are the guys you see posing a potential threat to your title-winning aspirations?
A: Look, in modern badminton no player is unbeatable. On a given day any player irrespective of his ranking can be beaten. In fact, any shuttler in the top-30 can beat you – it is that competitive.
Q 2015 has been a decent year for you – you won the Swiss Open and Indian Open Super Series Tourney.
A: To be honest, those good results were good for me, not just that I had some bad results after that which will stand me in good stead for the future.
Q Every player can have a bad tournament – what have you learned from your bad tournaments?
A: I have realized that I have to focus more than I have been doing till now. It’s all about pocketing the crucial points and the only way to see those go in your favour is to focus more. You can’t relax for one point, forget one game and it so crucial to stay calm and focused.
Q Given the cut-throat competition how important it is for you to keep adding new weapons to your armoury?
A: First of all, you have to maintain your own game – that’s more important and once you do that you can adding news weapons to outmanoeuvre your opponent.
Q Pullela Gopichand has been doing an outstanding job as national head coach ever since he took charge in 2002. Your thoughts.
A: In my book, he is the best Indian coach till date. Look at the way our shuttlers are coming up. We have so many singles players in the top-20 – even our doubles players are also doing well. I don’t think Indian badminton has seen so much success during the tenure of any other coach.
Q Badminton Association of India (BAI) has roped in the services of a doubles coach from Malaysia.
A: It’s a good move for the future. He is expected to take charge by August-end or early next month. I’m sure Indian doubles players will hit new strides under him.
Q The likes of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa have been really doing well – reaching their career best ranking of 12.
A: Jwala-Ashwini pair are in the middle of a great run and so two are the men doubles pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy and like Jwala-Ashwini have broken into the top-20, which just shows not just singles Indian badminton is coming up in leaps and bounds.