Sameer Verma hopes to keep training hard

From a World ranking of 30 at the start of the year to being No. 12 now, the 24-year-old shuttler has been the talk of the badminton fraternity now with his recent BWF World Tour Finals semifinal appearance in China.

It has been a year to remember for Sameer Verma.   -  Vivek Bendre

Sameer Verma has been the unexpected hero of Indian men’s badminton in 2018. From a World ranking of 30 at the start of the year to being No. 12 now, the 24-year-old shuttler has been the talk of the badminton fraternity now with his recent BWF World Tour Finals semifinal appearance in China.

“Yes, that semifinal appearance has given me more confidence that I can belong to the big league there. It was indeed one of the high points of my career,” says Sameer, playing for Mumbai Rockets in the ongoing PBL-4 season.

Sameer believes that all he has to do is keep working really hard and stay fit.

Key to success

“Fitness is the key to success in contemporary badminton. Once you maintain the desired levels on this front, it will be far more easier to achieve your goals,” says the World No. 12.

Looking back at the World Tour semifinal appearance, Sameer recalls that the advice of his coaches — national coach P. Gopi Chand and his deputy Siyadatullah.

READ: Sameer beats Sugiarto to keep knockout hopes alive

“They just told me to forget that loss as early as possible and focus on the next two games. That worked as I was more focused and could make it to the semis,” he said.

“It was definitely frustrating to lose the semifinal when I was on matchpoint. There was lot of excitement at 20-19. After losing the point, there were three thoughts flashing in my mind — about a fault, judgement whether to attack the serve or not and also that the game would be over,” he recalled with a smile. “But there are lot of positives that I would love to take from that performance,” he added.

“I don’t feel there is any kind of pressure because the focus is more on me now than what it was earlier. But, need to practice more and start the next year with the Indonesian Open,” the 2018 Hyderabad Open and Syed Modi International winner said.

“The schedule is definitely hectic but again all depends on how well you keep your body fit,” he said.

“I don’t want to invite any pressure by thinking too much about next year which happens to be the Olympic qualifying cycle year. All I hope is to keep training hard, improve and stay fit,” Sameer concluded.