Reigning Olympic champion and two-time World champion, Carolina Marin, is all geared up to spearhead Hyderabad Hunters challenge in the Premier Badminton League (PBL) starting from December 23.
In an exclusive chat with Sportstar from Spain, 24-year-old Marin shares her thoughts on the PBL and other aspects of badminton.
Q: How do you sum up the year 2017?
A: Not so good really because I had to come back from a long injury break. It was a very difficult phase, especially to be away from the game as I could not even practice after winning the Olympics gold in Rio.
Q: How are the preparations for the PBL now as you will be the biggest name for Hyderabad Hunters again?
A: They are going well. I have been working really hard. Still recovering from the hip injury which made me skip some of the recent majors including the Dubai BWF Super Series finals. But, I am a lot better though still not 100 per cent fit.
Q: Does it mean that you might not be available for the entire PBL?
A: No, no. I will be there right through and give off my best. I love to be with my Hunters team and, I am excited to meet my players, especially the new ones.
Q: Do two more teams in this PBL make things difficult for the players in terms of schedule?
A: Not really. I look at it this way – you have to win two more matches to stay in the race for the title.
Read - PBL - Praneeth: Hyderabad has a 'perfect mix' of players
Q: How do you rate Hunters’ chances in the League?
A: We have very good, strong singles players and personally I repeat - I hope to give more than 100 per cent. We are a very strong team capable of winning the title this time around.
Q: Your take on top guns’ techniques and skills being exposed by playing in the PBL?
A: I don’t see any major shift in the way the PBL has been conducted earlier. Well, it is always good for the younger players to play and train with the big names in the PBL. It presents a huge opportunity to learn so many things - not just for the young talent but also for seasoned pros.
Q: What do you feel will be the biggest challenge for you and your team in the PBL?
A: There is nothing specific like that. Any team has to be consistent to win a title. So, we also will try to seize the momentum early and sustain it throughout the League.
Q: What do you feel is the biggest benefit of PBL for the sport itself?
A: It is obvious that a lot of young talent has emerged thanks to the PBL and this is what the sport needs badly too. And, the way the fans are coming to watch the matches is a reminder that it is a big hit.
Q: What is your critical assessment of the women’s badminton now?
A: Honestly, it is a fast-changing scenario. Earlier, my style seemed to have impressed the fans across the world. But, now if you look at the competition and the standard, we need to improve ourselves to keep winning for every year the women’s circuit has been changing a lot with so many surprises being thrown up.
Q: You have won the gold in Olympics, Worlds and the All England championship too. What more you feel you have to achieve?
A: (with a big laugh) Yes, yes, I have won almost everything. But I am keen to win the World Championship and the All England next year. I know it is never going to be easy as you have to work really hard.
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