World champion P.V. Sindhu says it is time to look ahead, leave the past, believe in herself and come back stronger in 2020.
“Post the World championship gold medal last August, I have had a disappointing run. But, it is not all over. I can always comeback,” the 24-year-old said in an exclusive interview with Sportstar as she shared her thoughts on the upcoming year.
Sindhu said she's looking at this month-end’s Premier Badminton League to fine-tune the few rough edges she feels she has in her game as she embarks on the road to grab the top slot from India for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“This is going to be a different PBL. There are new set of players. Matches against Tai Tzu Ying (for Bengaluru Raptors) should be interesting, (I am) looking forward to them. The League has always been very interesting, lots of fun and excitement in the air,” she said.
“The whole atmosphere is different out there in PBL as you play for yourself and also for the team. The support too will be different and importantly you can correct mistakes, if any,” she added.
On playing for Hyderabad Hunters, she said: “We have to support each other and play like a team to clinch the title.”
Talking about Tai Tzu, Sindhu noted that the Taiwanese is no longer invincible. “With all respect to her, she has some wonderful strokes and is very deceptive. She was unbeatable earlier. Now everyone is reading each other better and with that everybody’s game changes, and we have to always play a different game from each tournament, try to catch the opponent on the wrong foot in a new area,” she said.
When asked if her 2019 World Championships gold medal was better than the silver medal she won at the 2016 Rio Olympics, she said: “In 2016, no one expected a Sindhu to do well. Now, there is lot more recognition, expectations high and with that bigger responsibility,” she said. “So, both years are different but with great memories,” she added with a big smile.
What's next for Sindhu? “I have a strong desire to win the All England championship title and the ultimate goal is to win the 2020 Olympics gold,” she said, while insisting that the unpredictability in her game could well be her biggest strength too.
“Essentially, I am keen to start the New Year on a high in the Malaysian and the Indonesian Opens this month though it is not possible always to keep winning every tournament,” she said.
“It all depends on that particular tournament, day, courts, shuttle and the drift factor. So there are so many issues which lead to the end-result. I have no sad moments in 2019 and no regrets too for early losses after the World championship gold. I still feel confident and looking for improved performance,” Sindhu explained.
“Definitely, I hope to keep doing well in major events like Worlds and the Olympics even while targeting Super Series titles. Sometimes, you need luck winning from losing positions and losing from wining positions. This is part of the game,” she added.
Is there a critical review at the end of 2019? “Yes, of course. It is important to know your mistakes and work on them. I am looking to be lot more patient in my approach even as the other aspects of the game are being taken care of during my daily training sessions,” she said.
“Frankly, the standard amongst the top-15 players in the world is the same. Everyone is always well-prepared and keen to give off her best. We have to stay focussed and ready with a Plan B if the Plan A doesn’t work out on a given day. So, there is no specific strategy for any tournament,” said a confident Sindhu.
What are the three goals Sindhu has set for herself this year? “The Tokyo Olympics gold, World No.1 ranking and winning a few Super Series titles including All England,” she said, signing off.
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