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Interview with Sai Praneeth: Winning Canadian Open was hugely satisfying

Sai Praneeth racked up his third international singles tournament after winning the Canadian Open.

Sai Praneeth
Sai Praneeth in action in an earlier game

Sai Praneeth is riding high after winning the Canadian Open Grand Prix Tournament – the Indian, who was seeded fourth in the tournament – racked up his third international singles crown – his first in three years – he had last won the 2012 Bahrain Challenge Tourney and earlier had won the 2010 Iran Challenge. The Gopi Chand Academy product spoke about his Canadian Open triumph and much more in an exclusive interview.

Excerpts:

Q How satisfying it was to win the Canadian Open – your third international singles crown after the 2010 Iran Challenge and 2012 Bahrain Challenge wins? 

I am really happy that I won the Canadian open – this title win came after a very long time since the 2012 Bahrain Challenge win. The win will give me a lot of confidence for the future.

Q You enjoyed a bye in the first round and posted straight game wins save for the semifinal against France’ Bruce Leverdez, which was a three-game affair. How would you assess your overall performance in the Canadian Open?

I played well throughout the tournament, especially with Bruce it was a down-to-the-wire contest where I prevailed.

Q There were many Indian seasoned guys like HS Pranoy, Ajay Jayaram and RMV Gurusai Dutt – you must be happy that you are able to step ahead of them and bag the Canadian Open crown?

There were many Indian players and to win the tournament among them gave me huge satisfaction.

Q Injuries have wreaked havoc with your performance in last year or so – you had sustained all kinds of injuries ranging from foot, shin to ankle. How difficult is it to take injuries in your stride?

It's really tough when you are continuously injured but one has to take it in a positive way as they are the part of the game and work harder.

Q You were ranked 56 at the start of 2014 and have really climbed the rankings – where do you want to reach by 2016-end?

I want to keep ranking aside and win big tournaments. I don’t want to think too much about rankings – if I keep performing my ranking will automatically go up.

Q What are the areas you want to focus on to make you an even better player?

There is always room for improvement for any player and in my case, it is no different.

Q The Indian men shuttlers have done fairly well in last few years with so many breaking into the top-50 – when do you think India will start having five or six guys in the top-20 like we consistently have been having 6-7 guys in top-50 for a long period?

Indian men singles’ standards went really high from the past few years but the only thing lacking was consistency and if everyone plays consistent badminton then I think it's not tough to be in top-20.

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