PV Sindhu needs to improve in order to play well against Nozomi Okuhara: Pullela Gopichand
What’s the story?
Star Indian badminton coach Pullela Gopichand believes that his ward PV Sindhu has a long way to go, and many more improvements to make to her game, despite having experienced a meteoric rise in her rankings over the last couple of years.
Gopichand believes that although her height gives Sindhu an advantage against her opponents, she cross court drop shots are something that she still struggles with, something that needs to be improved upon.
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Sindhu shot to instant stardom, after she clinched a silver medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics, losing out to Spaniard Carolina Marin in the final of the women’s singles event. Sindhu followed up last year’s exploits by winning the Indian Open and the Indonesian Open, while also finishing runners-up in the BWF World Championships, in Glasgow, Scotland, earlier this year.
It was during this stretch, that she developed a fierce on-court rivalry with Japanese shuttler Nozomi Okuhara. The two shuttlers played long rallies, both in the final of the BWF World Championships and the Indonesia Open, often leaving the two panting for breath.
Heart of the matter
During these rallies, Okuhara had used her drop shots to great effect, in order to gain an advantage over Sindhu. Gopichand wants his ward to improve on these areas, in order to progress further in the future events.
“She’s (Sindhu) a naturally a tall athlete, so there are obviously some areas where she has to work extra hard. The returning of the cross-court drop shots is one such area as being tall it puts extra pressure on her knees compared to others, so she has to work more on strength. But due to her long arms and legs, her court coverage is better than many and her shots are more powerful,” Gopichand said to Economic times.
With the Denmark Open set to get underway later this week, Sindhu will be raring to go against the top shuttlers from all over the world. Gopichand would have already worked with her on the areas that needs improving, and it would be interesting to see how she performs in the tournament.
A long reach definitely gives her a tremendous advantage with regards to court coverage, but taking care of the cross-court drop shots could be a huge problem for someone of her height.
While working on these things is a necessity, the coach would also need to draw the line, there is also the danger of putting too much pressure on her knees. Saina Nehwal has already suffered a serious knee injury, and has yet to get back to the same levels where she was, before her knee issue occurred.