PV Sindhu will definitely be under the scanner at the Tokyo Olympics. Sindhu turned 26 on Monday but has no time to celebrate as she is completely engrossed in her preparations for the Summer Games.
Sindhu would ideally want to celebrate her birthday with another Olympic medal and can certainly hold back her celebrations for the time being.
With defending champion Carolina Marin out of the Tokyo Olympics due to a knee injury, the silver medalist of the Rio Olympics Sindhu would be one of the front-runners for the title.
There is absolutely no doubt that Sindhu is one of the leading shuttlers in the world and the World No. 7 will be in medal contention once again. Having won Olympic silver to go with three World Championship medals, Sindhu is arguably the best female badminton player in the country. This time she would eye nothing less than gold at the Tokyo Olympics.
Sindhu has been training under the watchful eyes of her coach Park Tae-Sang at the Gachibowli Stadium in Hyderabad since February 2021. The former South Korean shuttler has been giving regular challenges to Sindhu during daily practice. Even Sindhu has admitted that Park creates match-like situations during the training to prepare her for Tokyo.
The Hyderabadi shuttler has always been a strong and aggressive player. Courtesy of more focused training, she has been striking the bird with greater power and precision than before.
Crosscourt smashes on both flanks are one of the hardest strokes to play in singles. The hitter has to return to the center of the court swiftly enough to reach the net in case the opponent blocks the shot. Sindhu has employed this stroke with great effect against the shorter players. However, she has had limited success with it against the longer-legged shuttlers on the circuit (particularly against World No. 1 Tai Tzu-Ying of Chinese Taipei).
Sindhu improved her net play and defense
It has been clear that the biggest improvements in Sindhu’s game in 2021 have come in the areas of net play and defense. The reigning world champion was extremely uncomfortable at the net earlier. Overcoming her weakness she has managed to produce a good, tight dribble and a flat, attacking clear with virtually the same action.
Sindhu also developed some deceptive shots in the last few months which she will want to implement in Tokyo to surprise her opponents.
Experts used to criticize Sindhu’s defensive play earlier. But that is a thing of the past now. She has developed a patient game that allows her to frustrate her opponents with her defense and net play. One of the main reasons for this improvement is her improved foot speed. She is reaching the net earlier than before. She has a wide range of shots and covers the court well. This means that there are not many chances for her opponents to score winners over her.
Losing focus at a crucial juncture in the game is something Sindhu has to sort out. She tends to lose concentration at the vital moments of the match and can concede points in a bunch. She also has some mental blocks against some of the top players in the world. Keeping the energy level high in the third and deciding game is a challenge for her. Her opponents use the ploy of making her move all over the court to tire her out.
Over the last six to seven years, Sindhu has received every possible accolade to her name. However, on many occasions in the past Sindhu had struggled to cross the final barrier. After performing exceedingly well in the early rounds, she would very often falter in summit clashes.
That is motivation enough for her to go the distance this time and get another medal for the country at the world’s biggest sporting extravaganza. With nothing to prove to anyone, Sindhu will look to have a great outing at the Games. That could work well in her favor as she tries to capitalize on a rare opportunity to bring him an Olympic gold medal in Badminton.
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In any tournament, women’s singles is the most closely contested category. Any player from the top 15 is capable enough to upset Sindhu and end her dream of winning another Olympic medal. The Indian shuttler will face the biggest threat from her nemesis, Tai Tzu-Ying of Taiwan. Beating Tai will be a challenge for Sindhu as the Chinese Taipei shuttler has been in outstanding form for the last couple of years.