H.S. Prannoy: Australian Open one of the toughest tournaments for India

Indian shuttler H.S. Prannoy will face former world champions Lin Dan in the first round of the Australian Open beginning on June 4.

H.S. Prannoy

H.S. Prannoy will also play in Indonesia and Thailand before the World Championships in August.   -  AFP

With the Olympic race heating up, H.S. Prannoy believes a tough test awaits Indian shuttlers at the Australian Open World Tour Super 300 beginning June 4.

“Australia is going to be tough. Because of Olympic qualification a lot of players are playing. And I have to play Lin Dan in the first (round). So one of the toughest tournaments for every one of us,” he told reporters on Thursday.

A former top 10 player, Prannoy said he is happy with his preparation ahead of the hectic schedule that awaits him this year.

“We had pretty good preparations (after the New Zealand). After New Zealand (Open) I had around three and half to four weeks - so there was a good time to train considering the amount of tournaments which I have to play in the second half of the year. It is going to be really packed (schedule),” he said.

Prannoy and Sameer Verma were part of a coaching clinic organised by the Goregoan Sports Complex and Yonex Sunrise India here.

“It is really important that we get a bulk of training at this point. I think, I have been able to play well since the last couple of months. New Zealand also, from my side, I felt I was playing really well,” said the 26-year-old, who had lost to Japan’s Kanta Tsuneyama in the men’s singles quarterfinals at New Zealand Open.

Verma, who is also gearing up for the Australia Open, stressed on the importance to produce a good show in the upcoming events to boost his confidence ahead of the World championship.

“We are preparing well for all these tournaments,” he said.

Verma will also play in Indonesia and Thailand in July before heading to the World Championships to be held in Switzerland in August.

“We have to plan well for the World Championships and we have to win these tournaments or perform well, which will boost me for the next tournaments.

“My main aim is to bag a gold medal in 2020 (Tokyo) Olympics,” added the World No 12, who will face Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia at Australia Open," Verma said.