PBL Season 5: Sindhu and Tzu Ying -- On-court rivalry, off-court friendship!

Ahead of their PBL 2020 clash on Friday, P.V. Sindhu and Tai Tzu Ying admit that they are friends off the court.

P.V. Sindhu and Tai Tzu Ying at a promotional event in Hyderabad on Thursday.   -  V. V. SUBRAHMANYAM

The smiles said it all! The mutual respect that World champion P.V. Sindhu of Hyderabad Hunters and the former World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying of Bengaluru Raptors have for each other was evident when they shared the stage for a promotional event of the ongoing Premier Badminton League here on Thursday.

Ahead of their clash on Friday, billed to be one of the contests of the edition itself, both of them revealed that they are friends, off the court too.

“Well, our rivalry is confined to the court and we never take it beyond that. Yes, there will be anger when you don't perform well against the best. But, again, rivalry spur you to give off your best and that is why these sporting rivalries are most talked about,” says Sindhu.

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For Tai, who prefers to communicate through an interpreter, language doesn’t seem to be an issue when she talks about her respect for Sindhu. “It will be a very tough match tomorrow. The home crowd will be cheering Sindhu and I have to be at my best to beat her in what is obviously a very important match for our team,” said the superstar from Taiwan.

On her part, Sindhu, who sported a disarming smile right throughout, said it is a different proposition when she plays Tai in the PBL unlike in the Super Series or the Inter-Continental championships.  

“Well, the format 15-point format too is demanding as there is no way you can relax. You have to stay focussed especially when the scores are tied 14-all, it is one point which separates the winner. That is something really exciting and challenging,” Sindhu said.

Tai feels that in a team event, there is a lot of planning involved. “You have to change your strategy according to the team’s needs,” she said.

“Yes, badminton is very popular back home in Taiwan now and it is picking up fast now,” says Tai, often considered as one of the most complete players the sport has ever seen in women’s singles.

Interestingly, Sindhu brushes aside the absence of the Chinese big guns in the PBL.   “I must say it is not disappointing as the PBL still has worldclass players like Tai and many others. So, there is no dearth of either class and quality and the young talent can learn so many things watching them,” the Hyderabadi said.

When the two champions posed with the winner’s trophy, not surprisingly, there were quite a few lighter moments shared by them to the delight of the select audience.