For injury-hit R. Satwiksairaj, it has never been easy to stage comebacks given the kind of mental and physical challenges he has to face.
But, the gifted shuttler believed in one mantra - good things are always waiting for me despite the bad phases.
“Well, I always believed in God, especially during those testing times. Fortunately, this Asian Championship doubles gold (partnering Chirag Shetty) after coming back from an injury was another special and unforgettable,” Satwik informed Sportstar in a chat from Dubai even as the feeling of being newly-crowned champions hasn’t yet sunk in.
“It is never easy to keep winning, especially given these kinds of challenges. What hurt us (him and his partner Chirag Shetty) was that we were losing because of an injury and not for playing badly,” he said.
“Definitely, the fatigue factor is a huge one as we keep playing tournaments given this being the Olympics qualification year,” Satwik said.
“But, definitely, thanks to the continuous support of our doubles coach Mathias Boy, we now understand better how to respect the body and the mind. This we feel is very important to keep winning major titles,” the doubles specialist said. “We are grateful to the entire support staff including the physios,” he added.
“Given the nature of our game, more so for me, since I play the attacking game with all those jumps, we realise the importance of recovery with sound sleep, proper diet and equally invaluable workouts,” Satwik explained.
“Honestly, we never felt any pressure. In fact, we play much better under pressure and that is the reason why we won so many finals,” he said.
What is the big change in the game now? “We both are mentally much stronger and no more in a hurry to finish off the games. Like our coach Boe used to play, never concede easy points and scoring points even when the opponents were playing a better game, we are mastering that art of picking points to stay in the contest to turn around the fortunes,” Satwik said.
“No, we don’t feel that we are in the safe zone as Olympics qualification is concerned. Our target is to break into the top four and not be content with being in the top 16. Better rankings mean better draw in the Olympics,” he said.
What was the biggest challenge when at home during the injury break? “Felt really bad when I missed the Asia mixed championship. For the team, events are real fun and you have the entire contingent supporting you and somehow we always gave our best in them,” Satwik said.
“I would certainly rate the Asian Championship doubles gold in the top three with the Thomas Cup being the best for obvious reasons,” the champion shuttler said.
“The next big targets are to win medals in the Sudirman Cup and the Asian Games. We want to keep the momentum going in the run-up to the 2024 Paris Olympics for sure.” a delighted Satwik signed off.
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