PBL 2018: "Learning to be more patient in matches," says Ahmedabad Smash Masters' HS Prannoy
From being a silver medallist at the 2010 Youth Olympics to claiming his first senior national championships and capping off the year with the World No. 10 rankings, H.S. Prannoy has endured some tough seasons, marred by injuries especially, and has transformed into a much more patient and consistent player now.
Ever since he burst onto the international badminton scene in 2010, injuries have been a regular companion of the Kerala-born shuttler with knee, toe and back niggles hampering his seasons. But thanks to his strong determination and strive to excel, he has returned and each time with an impact. The 2017 season saw him winning the US Grand Prix Gold and Senior Nationals besides reaching the semi-finals and quarter-finals of a few Super Series events, where he even pulled off wins over former World No. 1s Chen Long and Lee Chong Wei.
“Being patient during long rallies is part of the transformation over the years when you understand what you need to do to be in that top level. A couple of things which you need to do is like how Viktor Axelsen has said he needs to be more patient and start to get more shuttles on the court and that’s how one can be a better player," he said.
“Over the years, I have been trying to do that on a constant basis and probably my consistency was not really great. This year it was little better from my side. I think that’s how I am learning. I am pretty happy with the way things are,” said Ahmedabad Smash Masters’ star player Prannoy after winning his PBL Season 3 Trump match against fellow India B. Sai Praneeth of the Hyderabad Hunters 15-10, 15-8 at the Siri Fort Sports Complex in Delhi on Friday.
Prannoy was happy to execute his plans in the match against Sai Praneeth and win against a player, against whom he generally loses during training at the famed Pullela Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad. “I think a couple of things worked out for me today. In the second game, when I had to take the lead I got it from 8-6. There were a couple of long rallies where I wasn’t impatient. I also didn’t try too many risky shots today," said Prannoy.
"But I felt my movements were a little bit sluggish today. Probably I'm not really fit enough. A couple of good on-court sessions will help me in the next couple of days,” remarked the 25-year-old, who will now end the season with an unbeaten record of nine matches in the PBL.
He added, "Players like Sai are really good. They are in fact good every day. They are so talented that they can put shuttle from any place to any place over.”
Asked what has clicked for him in the season when he won finals against fellow Indians, at the US Open and at the Nationals, Prannoy said, “My power is probably five percent more than what these guys have. Srikanth is one who really has some big smashes but one big advantage is that I have a strong backhand to cover up whenever I am in trouble.”
With a hectic season ahead, Prannoy probably would look to continue the good form and pull off some good wins, possibly a Superseries final, which is a missing thing from his cabinet.