Podium finish at All England is my goal: Jayaram

Indian shuttler Ajay Jayaram feels his struggle with injuries year has made him mentally tougher and aggressive, and he is now focusing on his dream of reaching the podium at the All England Championship in March.

Jayaram reached his maiden Super Series final at Korea Open and then won the Dutch Open after enduring a challenging seven-month layoff in the year gone by.   -  R. V. Moorthy

Indian shuttler Ajay Jayaram feels his struggle with injuries year has made him mentally tougher and aggressive, and he is now focusing on his dream of reaching the podium at the All England Championship in March.

Mental toughness

Jayaram reached his maiden Super Series final at Korea Open and then won the Dutch Open after enduring a challenging seven-month layoff in the year gone by.

“I am mentally tougher, I guess I have faced a lot of challenges. After the injury in 2014 when I was out for six months, getting back in action was difficult initially. But it made me realise that life is going to throw bigger challenges and the best way to go about is to keep fighting,” he said.

“I am really looking forward to the All England in March. If I get a streak like the one I got in Korea Open I can actually end up with a podium finish. It has been a long time dream and the biggest goal.”

As a player, who had come within touching distance of qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics, only to lose the berth at the last moment after P. Kashyap toppled him in rankings following a walkover in the India open, Jayaram said he is focusing on each event to make it to the Rio Games this year.

Kaizen

“I am trying to focus on every tournament and not thinking too much just about Rio. Yes, it is difficult to keep it completely out of mind but taking one tournament at a time and getting better and consistent results is the right way to look at it,” he said.

On how he evaluates himself when compared to top-10 players, Jayaram said: “In my head I am very much there. The main thing is playing that level consistently which I have struggled I have to keep fighting and hopefully stabilise this year.”

Asked if he feels things have opened up in singles in the last four years, he said: “I will still put Lee Chong Wei, Lin Dan and Chen Long in different league. Rest of the top-20 or 30 are open, it is a very high level but almost every Super Series it is anyone’s game.”

Having won both his matches at the PBL so far, Jayaram says the event has been a confidence-booster ahead of the season.