Peter Gade: Gains of Indian badminton have been huge

Peter Gade, 42, who runs an academy in Copenhagen, is in Chennai for a project to impart new skills to the younger generation.

Peter Gade won 22 World Tour titles, bagged the All England Open title in 1999, won five European titles and clinched five World championship singles medals and was ranked number one in the world from 1998 to 2001.

Peter Gade won 22 World Tour titles, bagged the All England Open title in 1999, won five European titles and clinched five World championship singles medals and was ranked number one in the world from 1998 to 2001.   -  M. Vedhan

Peter Gade is one of the most successful badminton players ever to have graced the sport. The Dane won 22 World Tour titles, bagged the All England Open title in 1999, won five European titles and clinched five World championship singles medals and was ranked number one in the world from 1998 to 2001.

The 42-year-old, who runs the Peter Gade Academy in Copenhagen, is in Chennai for a project to impart new skills to the younger generation.

In this exclusive interview with Sportstar, he speaks on India’s chances at the Tokyo Olympics, his pick for the quadrennial Games, and the importance of coaching today.

P.V. Sindhu hasn’t had a great run after the World Championships triumph. How do you rate her chances at the World Tour finals this year and the 2020 Olympics?

At some point in time, it is only natural. After winning a big title, it takes time to settle a bit. New goals need to come up. I am sure that the competitive nature that Sindhu has, she will come back soon whether it is the World Tour finals or the Olympics.

Your pick for Tokyo Olympics?

I would say that the big favourite is Japan’s Kento Momota. There will be a huge amount of pressure on him playing at home in Tokyo. In ladies singles, it is more open. You have a group of 5-6 players who can potentially win the title. Sindhu will surely be targeting the gold medal.

How do you rate your country-mate and former World No.1 Viktor Axelsen’s comeback from an injury?

I hope he will be without any injury so that he can continuously conjure up good form. If he can do that, he can be a threat to Kento. I still feel that Viktor has a chance to beat Kento when he is at the top of his game. We have two Danes [Anders Antonsen and Viktor] in the top five in the world. If they can dig up the fire against Kento, I will be cheering for them.

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On the growth of Indian badminton

Overall, the gains of Indian badminton have been huge. You can see that there is a lot of interest and passion for the sport. This is only the beginning. We will see, hopefully, more Indian players reach the top. Now they have many players in men’s singles. Maybe, one or two more will break through and go to the top 10 and stay there.

On choosing Chennai for his first project

Not any special reason. It was a process. During the past year I got many enquires to do a camp in India. When Ramesh [Packirisamy], a badminton promoter, contacted me, I made it clear what kind of demands I had. He has been following them. I am only happy to bring badminton to new parts of India.

How has coaching styles evolved over the years?

If you look at coaching on-court, it has changed a lot because coaches [now] are hugely involved in the game. There are many breaks during matches where the coaches can be very active. Coaches mean a lot today. In our time, coaches meant less. They had less impact.