Interview with Kidambi Srikanth: "Not thinking about World No. 1 ranking"
Indian badminton star Kidambi Srikanth can hardly put a foot wrong. The Guntur lad is on seventh heaven after annexing the Indian Open Super Series crown in New Delhi. The country’s highest ranked men’s singles player spoke in an exclusive interview before leaving for Kuala Lumpur to play in the Maybank Malaysian Open. Below is the excerpts from the interview.
Q How does it feel winning the Indian Open Super Series crown in front of your home crowd?
It’s a special feeling to win a tournament as prestigious as the Indian Open Super Series in our backyard. I’m really happy with my efforts and looking to stay positive going forward.
Q You got the better of Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen to win the Indian Open – the same opponent you defeated to win the Swiss Open. Did you try to adopt different tactics against him this time around?
I had lost the opening game and was under a bit of pressure. I tried to change my game plan after the opening game and it worked well for me as I started dominating the second and third games.
Q You were trailing 3-7 at one stage and then later won eleven points in a row to close out the match. How do you explain the sequence of winning eleven points on the trot?
I think everything clicked for me and my opponent made a lot of unforced errors. I think Viktor committed as many as eight unforced errors and I made the most of it.
Q It does not always happen that India have the men’s singles and women’s singles winners in a big-ticket event with you winning the men’s singles crown and Saina the women’s singles title. Your thoughts.
Well, it has happened for the second time and I’m sure there will be many more to come.
Q Expectations must be sky-high now that you are world number four. The big question on everyone’s mind is about you reaching world number one. How do you cope with the weight of expectations?
I’m trying to focus on my upcoming tournaments in Malaysia and Singapore. I don’t want to think too much about when I will reach world number one. Those things take care of themselves as I look to perform consistently.
Q The world rankings will be announced later this week. Do you think you can move above your current world number four spot?
I don’t know about the calculations of points for now, but like I said I’m not thinking too much about my ranking. I believe it is unlikely that I will move above number four this week.
Q The 2016 Rio Olympics must be one tournament you will be keen to bag a podium finish for India.
I want to do well in all tournaments I play this year. I wish to fare well in the Olympics. If I stay true to form and stay injury-free, I will make the cut.
Q Lin Dan – your favourite shuttler – said you are one of the most complete players he has seen among the contemporary lot.
Lin Dan is a legend and I was very happy to hear his comments about my game. Its pleasing to hear such encomiums from a player of Lin Dan’s stature.