27-year-old Ajay Jayaram made the headlines today by stunning the World No. 7 Chou Tien Chen to storm into his maiden Superseries final at the Korea Open. What is more amazing is the fact that this win came after two losses to the Taipei player earlier in the season at the German Open and the US Open.
As Ajay Jayaram seeks his maiden Superseries title on Sunday against the World No. 1 Chen Long, here are ten things you should know about the current Indian badminton sensation:
- The Bangalore-based Jayaram is currently mentored by India-born British coach Tom John who has earlier been associated with the English, Portuguese, French and the Italian badminton teams.
- Jayaram considers Prakash Padukone his idol and has also trained under the legendary Indian at his academy earlier. His game style has also often been compared with that of Padukone.
- Ajay received a huge blow ahead of the 2012 London Olympics when he was pipped to the post by Parupalli Kashyap. While Ajay lost to the top seed Lee Chong Wei in the second round of the 2012 India Open, Kashyap made the semis after receiving a walkover from Chen Jin in the quarters. Thus, Kashyap got a coveted place in the Olympic-bound Indian badminton team while Jayaram was left behind.
- His highest ranking has been 21 which he achieved in January, 2014. But that suffered a slide as Jayaram was out of action for seven months after having to undergo a shoulder surgery. He is currently ranked 32nd.
- He made a remarkable comeback from the surgery-induced hiatus as he went on to capture the 2014 Dutch Open Grand Prix title which was just his fourth tournament since his return. This was also his first ever title at the Grand Prix level. This win was unique since the tournament had a new scoring system of 11-point games.
- Prior to this, Ajay had captured three other international titles – the Waikato International in 2008, the Smiling Fish International Series in 2010 and the Czech International in 2010.
- The Mumbai-born shuttler played a big role in helping his team Hyderabad Hotshots win the title in the inaugural edition of the Indian Badminton League (IBL). He had some sensational triumphs and some of his scalps included the then World No. 5 Tien Minh Nguyen and the then World No. 9 Jan O Jorgensen.
- He is the only male Indian shuttler this year to reach a singles final at the Superseries level after Kidambi Srikanth who won the India Open Superseries in March.
- Ajay’s best performances in 2015 before the Korea Open were semi-finals at the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold, the Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold and the Russian Open Grand Prix.
- Ajay Jayaram likes to crack CAT-level Math problems when he gets spare time.