Returning from an injury layoff, India’s leading doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy are eyeing a consistent run to break into the top five and seal a spot for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
The Indian duo had broken into the top 10 last month after their historic feat — they had become the first Indian men’s doubles pair to win a BWF Super 500 title at the Thailand Open.
However, both Chirag and Satwik ended up with injuries during the tournament and had to skip the prestigious World Championship in Basel, Switzerland. While Chirag suffered an abdominal muscle injury, Satwik aggravated a right-shoulder injury. The time away from the circuit affected their ranking as they slipped to World No. 15.
Now back to full fitness having undergone a rigorous training schedule, the two are looking to go all out at the USD 1,000,000 China Open that begins on Tuesday. “We are completely fit now. We will go full throttle and hope to do well in China and Korea. We had lost in the first round at China last year, so we will look to go deep into the draw. It is a Super 1000 event, so it will help our ranking,” Chirag told PTI .
“We need to be consistent. We will look to end the year in top-10 and then from January to April next year, if we can play a couple of quarters or semifinals then we will be in top five and we’ll be able to comfortably seal our berth at Tokyo Olympics. It will be difficult to maintain the ranking points. But good thing is we don’t have to defend any ranking points early next year because we didn’t play from January to April this year,” said the 22-year-old.
Asked about their preparation for the tourneys in China and Korea, Chirag said: “We had full-fledged practice sessions for the China Open. We focussed on running and agility in the first week and then next two weeks, it was more of on-court training. We have been varying our shots, mixing our smashes, half-smashes and drops to have a multi-dimensional game.”
Chirag and Satwik will face Canada’s Jason Anthony Ho-Shue and Nyl Yakura in the opening round in China.
“We are playing a Canadian pair. Me and Satwik haven’t played them but I had faced them at Swiss Open with Pranaav Jerry Chopra. So that experience will count. I know we are coming back from an injury but there is no pressure,” Chirag added.