Interview with Pranaav Jerry Chopra: "We can now defeat the leading nations in badminton"
Indian badminton’s men’s doubles scene appears bright with a couple of solid pairs showing signs of breaking into the elite top-10. The pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Akshay Dewalkar (the other pair being Manu Attri-B.Sumeeth Reddy) have exuded immense promise in recent times, coming up with impressive performances on a consistent basis.
Pranaav Jerry Chopra has played his part in ensuring that he and Akshay have been able to work up a redoubtable combination on the court. The 23-year-old Ludhiana lad talks about his game and much more in an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda.
Q: What are your expectations for the year 2016?
2016 has been great so far, I had delivered good performances in PBL and Syed Modi, also winning the bronze at Badminton Asia Team Championship was a good start to 2016. I wish we continue the same form and win bigger tournaments.
Q: You must have really enjoyed being part of the Indian team that stunned mighty China 3-2 in the recent Badminton Asia Team Championships in Hyderabad?
It is always great to be a part of history and we as a team certainly created history by defeating the leading nations in badminton.
Q: You and Akshay had a fabulous run at the 2016 Syed Modi International Grand Prix Gold, where you upset three higher ranked opponents. Must have been a special feeling.
Yes, it was a great feeling to win against these mighty opponents on home grounds in front of Indian fans. I must say the crowd support did us proud. It would have been much better if we would have been the winners but I’m still quite happy with the way we played all our matches in this tournament.
Q: Do you think beating pairs like A Pratama-R K Suwardi, M Conrad-Petersen-M P Kolding and Kim Sa-rang-Kim Gi-jung give you the confidence that you guys can break into the top-10 sooner than later?
Yes, it definitely gives us great confidence because all these pairs are in the top-10 and beating them is a sign of progress for us.
Q: Indian have a solid men’s doubles pair in Manu Attri-B Sumeeth Reddy and with you guys being a formidable pair, things are looking good for the Indian doubles scene. Your thoughts.
Yes, it is very important to have two good pairs in a team who have been defeating different top pairs of the world. It is also very motivating for the upcoming juniors.
Q: How much has the presence of Malaysian doubles coach Tan Kim Her helped you guys?
We have more specific doubles training sessions since the presence of Tan coach. We have well-planned practice sessions for the entire month. He asks us to focus on individual weaknesses and work more on the coordination as a pair and understand each other's game well.
Q: You have been playing with Akshay since 2011. What has been the secret of your success story so far?
I think playing together for so many years itself has been the secret. When u play together for so long you tend to develop a certain understanding with your partner that helps during tough matches.
Q: How you think the Premier Badminton League (PBL) will help Indian badminton.
PBL is a great success. It brings top badminton to India, benefiting Indian players as well as viewers. Not only just competing against the top players but also being able to partner them and learn from them about the strategies of the matches, especially when it is a close match situation and the most important part of the game when you need a strong strategy.
Q: Tell us about your early days in badminton – where did you badminton journey start?
I started in Sutlej club in Ludhiana (my hometown) with my dad and it just got interesting each and every day. With the help of people I could have some good practice sessions and started playing tournaments. The transformation happened in Mumbai where I stayed for two years under Uday Pawar, and then it was 2008 when I joined Gopichand Badminton Academy and started competing on the international circuit.