Ajay Jayaram: ‘This is the best I’ve felt about my game and fitness’

The Indian shuttler looks forward to the Sudirman Cup and World Championships.

Ajay Jayaram is ranked 13.   -  G. P. Sampath Kumar

Soon after having attained a career-best ranking of 13, the best among Indians, Ajay Jayaram says he has never felt fitter in his career.

“I’m very happy to finally reach my best rankings. I had my shares of struggles, be it injuries or lack of form. I just kept going ahead and it is satisfying to get the results,” Jayaram told PTI. “This is the best I have felt about my game and fitness. In fact, this is probably the fittest I have ever felt. I had a long shoulder injury lay-off but I bounced back and achieved my best ranking. But I hope this is not my peak,” said Jayaram, who beat three top 15 players in Viktor Axelsen, Tian Houwei and Qiao Bin recently.

While Jayaram struggled with injuries and form, younger shuttlers such as K. Srikanth, Sai Praneeth and Sameer Verma made a mark in international badminton. “I’ve always tried to stay away from any comparison with the younger players. Sometimes such thoughts do come but I have tried to keep away negative thoughts. I have started meditation and it has helped me a lot,” he said.

“My confidence is high after consistent results and I want to give my best at Sudirman Cup and World Championships. Our team is doing well and it really makes me feel good to be part of such a quality bunch of players,” said Jayaram, who had entered the Korea Super Series final in 2015.

India has been clubbed with Denmark and Indonesia in the qualifying rounds of the Sudirman Cup scheduled to be held at the Gold Coast, Australia from May 21 to May 28. Jayaram, who would be spearheading India’s campaign at Sudirman Cup, said onus would be on singles at the mixed team championship.

“It is definitely a tough draw. Sudirman has two singles and three doubles and generally India’s forte has always been singles so it will be difficult but I think our doubles players have done reasonably well of late,” Jayaram said. “At least in mixed doubles, Sikki [Reddy] and Pranaav [Jerry Chopra] have done well recently. So if we could pull out a single and one doubles that would be great. Of course, two singles and a doubles will be our best bet, but let’s see,” he added.

Talking about the opponents, Denmark and Indonesia, Jayaram said: “Even Indonesia have good doubles team. Of course, women’s singles we have an upper hand in both matches but men’s singles, it would be little bit more better against Indonesia but again I have done well against Viktor Axelsen, so lets see.”

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