Sikki Reddy bullish on an excellent badminton season

The Indian badminton player aims to win a gold in the Commonwealth Games and play in the finals of some Super Series.

India's premier women's doubles shuttlers Ashwini Ponnappa (left) and N. Sikki Reddy at the Pullela Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad.   -  V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Indian women doubles shuttler N. Sikki Reddy hopes to make it big this year in doubles competitions — both mixed and women's doubles.

"I am excited to play the All England and have prepared really well for this tournament. So,  looking forward to make a big impact, " says 24-year-old Sikki in a chat with 'Sportstar' before her second appearance in the prestigious event.

"Our doubles coach Kim Tan Her worked a lot with us to make sure we don’t concede easy points and focus on the ending of the game how important to play safe," she said.

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"Playing with Ashwini, I learnt a lot and got better. She is very supportive on and off the court and she reads the game really well and guides me," admitted Sikki. "I don’t feel any pressure at all as she is always boosts me up whenever I am down and talks to me after the game and helps me getting better," she added.

What has been Ashwini's advice to you? "Either it’s your day, always keep your head up, shout and fight for it. Don’t show them that it’s not your day," is what she tells me.

On the new service rule, Sikki feels it does not affect them much as only the taller players like my mixed doubles partner Jerry (Pranaav Chopra) will have an issue with it. 

What are your targets this year? "To win a gold in the Commonwealth Games and play in the finals of Super Series, " says Sikki.

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Sikki almost beat Saina Nehwal in the women's singles final of the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune a decade ago before a career-threatening knee injury put her out of action for six months and later hampered the singles career. "Yes, definitely I will regret that even now. I could have made a comeback but due to lack of support during injury period I missed the bus in singles. But, I am happy playing badminton and being in the top in women and mixed doubles after such injury setbacks," she explained.

"Well, I always wanted to be a singles player. But, unfortunately injuries at the wrong time dented my aspirations and have to take up doubles more seriously.

"I never felt the pressure despite the setbacks. But, having played doubles in juniors, the switch over was never a problem," she reminded.

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"Yes, I had lots of confidence in myself because of my skills. So, all I needed was to focus on my physical conditioning," she said. "I am grateful to my parents and brother support I would not have been here after injury,"  she added.

For her part, 28-year-old Ashwini Ponnappa insists she is enjoying playing with Sikki and reminds that the best thing of their partnership on court is the communication channels are always open. “We are determined to make it big this year,” says the confident former World Championship bronze medallist.