Olympics pressure a positive thing, says P.V. Sindhu

While top-ranked badminton players have opted out of the PBL season 5 to focus on Olympics, P.V. Sindhu sees it as opportunity to learn from foreign players.

P.V. Sindhu's Hyderabad Hunters lost the tie against Chennai Superstarz in the PBL 5 opener.   -  R. Ragu

World Champion P.V. Sindhu might have won her match against Gayatri Gopichand in the Premier Badminton League (PBL) season opener. But her team Hyderabad Hunters lost 2-5 in the overall tie to the Chennai Superstarz here on Monday.

"Talking about our team, everybody played well. It was anybody's game in mixed doubles and also in Priyanshu (Rajawat's) men's singles. In men's doubles, it was 14-all in the first game. Overall, this is just the first tie, many more to go. So we have to be positive," said Sindhu, at the press conference after the clash.

Gayatri is the daughter of Sindhu's national coach Pullela Gopichand and the Hunters superstar opened up on the match and also had some positive words for her mentor.

"I think there's nothing to be awkward about playing Gayatri. It's just a game, anything can happen and you may be playing with anyone. I've been with Gopi sir for a very long time. It's not that a coach should always let us have fun, but they need to be tough from their side and he does that," she added.

The 2016 Rio Olympics was a turning point in Sindhu's career and four years down the line she wants to go all the way in Japan.

"From 2016 until now, definitely my life has changed a lot. I won a lot and I lost some matches. Step by step I've been improving. When I was playing in Rio, I was not that popular, the expectations were low. Now, it's like we want a medal from Sindhu. I would take this in a very positive way. I will say it's not extra pressure. I want to go there, do well and get a medal for myself. So I will work hard as it's not going to be easy," said the world No. 6.

READ | PBL: Chennai Superstarz makes winning start with 5-2 thumping of Hyderabad Hunters

Indian internationals including Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth had skipped PBL-5 to concentrate on Tokyo 2020 qualification. However, Sindhu, who is the frontrunner to represent India at the Olympics due to superior ranking, felt that she can learn a lot by playing in PBL.

"For me, PBL is like another set of matches and I can learn a lot more from foreign stars. Every player here has a different mindset and we also get different tips from them. In PBL, I've enjoyed a lot and it's a learning process. It's not that I'm very confident of qualifying for the Olympics.

"Fitness is very important for every player as well. Both mentally and physically we need to keep ourselves fit. At times when you feel fatigued, you need to take rest. It's very important to pick and chose tournaments because at times you may not feel 100 per cent. The BWF says you need to play a certain number of tournaments but I think it's important to be fully fit."

The Indian shuttler had been part of the now-defunct Chennai Smashers in the first three seasons of PBL before moving to the Hunters. She thanked the Chennai crowd for supporting her even now.

"In Chennai, there are a lot of fans and I'm very thankful to everybody. People came here and supported me even though we were playing against them. It's a good feeling. I'm happy to be part of Hyderabad Hunters now but it was great to be here today," said the 24-year-old shuttler.

Two youngsters Lakshya Sen and Priyanshu played out one of the greatest matches in PBL history during Chennai's triumph over Hyderabad and Sindhu expressed her thoughts regarding the same.

"PBL will help a lot of youngsters. You see Lakshya and Priyanshu playing and for Priyanshu it was his first time in the tournament and he played well. Anything could have happened because it was their (Chennai's) trump match. If we had won, they would have got a minus point. PBL is a good encouragement for these youngsters because they get to learn a lot from the senior players," she said.

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