Confident Prannoy eyes consistency

“I just hope that I remain injury free and keep doing well consistently in the days to come,” H. S. Prannoy said before another long training session at Gopichand Academy.

The 24-year-old Indonesian Open semifinalist says he is mentally and physically up there now and is glad that he reacted the way he should to win those two big matches.   -  AFP

 

H. S. Prannoy has the rare distinction in world badminton itself of beating reigning Olympic silver medallist Lee Chong Wei and then the Olympic champion Chen Long in two consecutive matches of the recent Indonesian Open. A performance, which he believes, should be the most decisive moments as he looks ahead to winning a couple of Super Series titles in the coming days.

The 24-year-old Indonesian Open semifinalist says he is mentally and physically up there now and is glad that he reacted the way he should to win those two big matches.

“Unfortunately, if only these performances had come before the cut-off date (it was May this year) of qualifying for the World championship this August in Scotland, I would have been in the Indian team for that,” says a disappointed Prannoy.

“Well, you don’t get such a draw which is a very rare opportunity. I just had to make a couple of changes to face Lee and Chen Long. Importantly have the self-belief. I must say that I played the best badminton of my career on those two days to beat such great players and hope to repeat such performances more regularly,” he says about his Indonesia performance in an interview with Sportstar.

Interestingly, Prannoy recalls that he had a mindset three years ago that he can never beat Chen Long whom he believes to be one of the toughest and a near-complete player. “But thanks to my Indonesian showing, I can always think big now when I face them again. Definitely, the confidence is on a high,” he said. “Yes, it was a disappointing Australian Open which followed that event. And, this is what I lack – consistency,” he added.

“Essentially, the target now will be to reach the semis and the finals of the Majors. That is the only way ahead,” says the World No. 21.

Like Srikanth, Prannoy also credits Indonesian singles coach Mulyo Handoyo a lot for the latest results of men’s shuttlers from India. “There were a couple of changes in the training programme. We are much fitter now, though still there is lot more to do. And, he having coached the likes of the great Taufik Hidayat knows exactly what a player needs to win big matches,” says the shuttler, whose career high-points being the 2014 Indonesian Masters and the 2016 Swiss Open titles.

“We all owe to the wonderful system that is in place in Gopi Academy. The professionalism in the whole gamut of coaching is what making the big difference,” says the shuttler who joined Gopi Academy seven years ago.

“Definitely, Indians need not look at only Saina or Sindhu for big wins in badminton. The men’s players too are really doing well now. It is not a joke to see quite a few of them in the top 25 in the world and I am sure there will be at least three in the top 15 very soon and some of them with the ability to even be the No.1,” says Prannoy.

A graceful Prannoy says he was pleased to watch from the stands Srikanth’s win over Chen Long in the Australian Open final recalling that his teammate played exactly the way he should – be patient and not rushing for points.

“I just hope that I remain injury free and keep doing well consistently in the days to come,” he signed off before another long training session at Gopichand Academy.

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