PBL 2020: Vladimir Ivanov hopes to win title with Hyderabad Hunters

Russian shuttler Vladimir Ivanov says playing in the PBL has definitely helped him in preparing for Badminton World Federation (BWF) tournaments.

Russia's Vladimir Ivanov, who shot into prominence winning the All England Open in 2016, says the win has surprisingly not had a great impact on his career.

Russia's Vladimir Ivanov, who shot into prominence winning the All England Open in 2016, says the win has surprisingly not had a great impact on his career.   -  R. Ragu

World number 28 in men's doubles, Vladimir Ivanov knows a thing or two about India and its players. Having played in all five seasons of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) and a year in the then Indian Badminton League, the 32-year-old has seen the growth of the League quite keenly.

According to the Russian, in men’s doubles title (with Ivan Suzonov), playing in PBL has definitely helped in preparing for Badminton World Federation (BWF) tournaments. “Here [in India], in the three weeks we have good practice with top players every day. In Russia, it is not possible as I can only play at the best with players ranked in the top-80 in the world whereas the cream of badminton is here [PBL],” he said.

"I’ve had practice sessions with Sindhu, Sourabh [Verma], Lee [Dong Yae], Mathias Boe, Chirag Shetty," said Ivanov, who is playing for Hyderabad Hunters in PBL-5.

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Ivanov shot into prominence after winning the All England Open in 2016, but that has surprisingly not had a great impact on his career, he said.  “[Winning the All England Open] was really a good result for us. My life has not changed because badminton is not popular in Russia, only winter sport is. But the Russian Government is supporting us by taking care of travel and stay during BWF tournaments,” he said.

Regarding the pairing with Suzanov, with whom he has won 22 BWF (Grand Prix & International Challenge/Series) titles in the last 10 years, the 32-year-old said it was situational. “While we were practising in Moscow, he asked me whether I can partner him and I said ‘yes why not’. We started with the Bulgarian Open Challenger in 2008-09 and lost in the semifinals. From there on, it has been quite a good progress."

On the pair’s chances of qualifying for Tokyo Olympics, Ivanov said it is not easy. Currently ranked 13th Road to Tokyo BWF Olympic rankings, Ivanov, a bronze medallst in 2018 European championship, said “we are in a dangerous situation, but are eager to qualify.”

Ivanov, who has represented Russia in men’s singles and doubles in the 2012 London Olympics, has never been part of a winning team in the PBL. “Maybe this year (I can), as we have too many talented players in Hyderabad Hunters,” he said.

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