Heavy workload a worry for Ratchanok

The World No. 7 is uncertain about participation in Singapore where she clinched the title last year.

Ratchanok Intanon with her runner-up medals after being defeated by Taiwan's Tai Tzu Ying at the All England Open Badminton Championships.   -  AP

Left nursing a knee injury for six months, Ratchanok Intanon has said the fear of a relapse is on her mind as she braces up for the uphill task of defending three successive titles, starting with the India Open.

The Thai star had a dream run ahead of the Rio Games when she won consecutive titles in India, Malaysia and Singapore. But a failed drug test, of which she was absolved by BWF later, and a nagging knee injury saw her crash out of the Olympics in the pre-quarterfinals.

The 22-year-old regained her fitness just ahead of the All England Championship and reached the final before losing to Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying. “Actually the Olympic games, I had some goal, I wanted to do something for Thailand. I won three tournaments but then I got knee injury before the Rio Games. I spoke to my team and they said it’s okay and I tried to give my best but couldn’t do well in Olympics,” Ratchanok told PTI.

“I struggled for six months, only regaining my fitness after Dubai Super Series Open. After that, I worked on my upper body and I was 100 percent before All England. I was champion in three consecutive events last year but I have to take a call if I will play all three tournaments. I know I have to defend my points but I also have to manage the workload and have to take care of my body.

“So I will be playing Malaysia for sure but Singapore is a bit uncertain. It depends on my body. I don’t want to force myself because I don’t want to lose another six months if I again get injured,” added the 2013 All England champion.

Kaizen

Ratchanok said she will need to work harder to compete as the game is changing each day. “I have to keep training hard because it is not about technique, it is about power and speed like Tai Tzu Ying. When she was young, she didn’t have good fitness but now probably she has a six pack,” she laughed. “Every player is improving and so I too want to improve myself.”

Talking about Saina Nehwal and P.V. Sindhu, Ratchanok said: “They have different style. Sindhu is tall and she has an attacking game but she is improving in her defence now. Saina is a rally player and has full power in her smash. So I don’t know who is better, it is very tough for me.”

Ratchanok was a bit rusty on Wednesday as she staved off a challenge from young Chinese Gao Fangjie 21-15, 21-19. “She looks like Li Xuerui. She has got good technique but she needs more experience. The young Chinese girls are good, they just need more experience and they too will do well,” she signs off.