Satwiksairaj Rankireddy: Mathias Boe’s knowledge of opponents will come in handy for us in the Tokyo Olympics

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy recently felicitated by Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy recently felicitated by Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy believes that Mathias Boe’s knowledge of the current men's doubles pairs of the world will come in very handy at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

The duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty are gearing up for the Tokyo Olympics under the watchful eyes of Denmark’s badminton legend Mathias Boe. The Danish great has been guiding the pair of Satwiksairaj and Chirag ever since the Badminton Association of India (BAI) appointed him as the specialist doubles coach in January 2021.

The former World No. 1 pair of Mathias Boe and Cartsen Mongensen have dominated the men’s doubles in the last decade with many titles including the All England Championships.

The 2012 London Olympics silver medallist duo of Mathais Boe and Cartsen Mongensen have played with all the pairs which had qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.

In an exclusive chat with Sportskeeda, Satwiksairaj said:

“Mathias Boe has played with all the top combinations of the world till last year when he announced his retirement in 2020. He has seen all the men’s doubles pairs quite closely, having played against them until last year. He knows the strengths and weaknesses of all the players. This factor is very crucial for us. When we will compete at the Tokyo Olympics he can guide us properly according to the nature of our opponents."

Mathias Boe points out our mistakes then and there only and also corrects them, says Satwiksairaj.

The 20-year-old Satwiksairaj and Chirag Shetty are ranked World No. 10 presently after reaching the career-best ranking of 7 in 2019. Satwiksairaj has admitted that Mathias Boe is quite different from the other coaches as far as his coaching method is concerned.

“He (Mathias Boe) points out our mistakes then and there only. He doesn’t wait for the practice session to end. If either of us commits an error in the training, he immediately comes forward and points out what was wrong with our technique. He not only points out mistakes but also shows us how to play that particular shot or stroke appropriately. He has tremendous knowledge of the game and vast experience to share with us,” said Satwiksairaj, who hails from Amalapuram, Andhra Pradesh.

The ace shuttlers are quite excited to represent the country for the first time in the Olympics. Both Satwiksairaj and Chirag Shetty have been training at the Gachibowli Stadium in Hyderabad for the last month.

“It was a good idea to train at the Gachibowli Stadium because in the Tokyo Olympics the badminton venue will be much similar in size. We and Sindhu Didi practice almost at the same time. Obviously we are excited for the Olympics. It feels great to qualify as India’s best pair but at the same time we are aware of the big expectations from the fans. We are working hard and trying to rectify whatever loopholes there are in our game,” said Satwiksairaj.

He and Chirag received the prestigious Arjuna Award in 2020.

The six-foot-tall Satwiksairaj possesses the most fearsome smashes among his contemporaries. The brutish power he generates in his jump smashes leaves his opponents clueless more often than not. His combination with Chirag Shetty is absolutely flawless. Together they have established themselves as one of the fastest-rising men’s doubles pairs in the world.

“I have a splendid chemistry with Chirag. We gel well on the court. We have a strong bond on and off the court. If any issue crops up between us we try to solve it then and there only. We don’t keep anything inside us. We are quite open to each other. We stay together whenever we are in the camp or during tournaments. We discussed quite a lot of other sports also. We like to discuss some interesting topics which strengthen our bond. We don’t fight, rather we enjoy each other’s company,” said Satwiksairaj.

He added that they sometimes watch the ongoing Euro 2020 (football tournament for European nations) to relax themselves after a grueling practice schedule.

The duo of Satwiksairaj and Chirag were groomed early in their careers by Tan Kim Her. The Malaysian was the first foreign doubles coach to be appointed by the BAI in 2015.

Tan Kim Her, who is now Japan’s men’s doubles coach, spotted the extraordinary talent in Satwik and Chirag some six years ago. The former Malaysian player immediately asked them to play together. Initially the young duo struggled to find their feet on the international circuit but once they matured, they started delivering great results. While both acknowledge the contribution of Tan Kim Her, they are equally happy to work with Mathias Boe.

Satwik and Chirag were in excellent form at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia. The duo helped India win a gold medal in the mixed team event and a silver medal in the men’s doubles event.

The world took notice of the young duo when they became the first Indian doubles pair to win the Super Series title in 2019. At the Thailand Open BWF World Tour Super 500 tournament, the pair of Satwik and Chirag stunned the formidable Chinese combination of Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen 21-19, 18-21, 21-18 to clinch their maiden title.

Satwik and Chirag will have to recreate the magic of the Thailand Open if they want to become the first Indian doubles pair to win a medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

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Edited by Diptanil