Sindhu: 'India has a good chance in Sudirman Cup'

With Saina Nehwal withdrawing from the Sudirman Cup, India's chances at the tournament will depend heavily on world No. 4 P. V. Sindhu.

World No. 4 P. V. Sindhu is confident of India putting on a good show at the Sudirman Cup.   -  Sandeep Saxena

P. V. Sindhu, who will spearhead India's campaign in the upcoming Sudirman Cup in Australia, is confident of the team putting on a good show.

The Olympic Silver medallist is aiming for the top, taking one step at a time. She is happy to keep doing the right things and believes all that matters is her performances on the court. “Currently I'm on fourth (ranking) and expect to see myself in top three by the end of year,” she replied, to a query about own expectations in the season. “I have already been in top two so would definitely like to see myself as world number one. Before that I think you have to play well. If you can do that, automatically ranking will improve.”

The badminton star spoke on the sidelines of a function by Cricket Club of India (CCI) to hand over honorary lifetime membership, joining a list of nation’s sporting luminaries given the honour in the past. She was accompanied by father Ramana Rao, a former national team volleyball player. "I had always wanted to win a Super Series event. Winning the China Open and the Indian Open gives me a lot of confidence,” said the shuttler, answering a question on her personal highs after the Rio 2016 silver.

Sindhu is looking forward to matching skills with Taipei’s Tai Tzu-ying, who is on a hot streak since breaking into the women’s elite. The Indian had won a pre-quarterfinals singles clash at the Rio Olympics badminton competition last year. The latter is world number one after a sensational run in 2017, beating Olympic champion Carolina Marin in two finals (Singapore Open, Malyasian Open). “The last (match we faced each other) was Rio and All England. I haven't played her recently.”

She added: “She (Tzu-ying) is winning a lot of matches and doing well for herself, but when it comes to me playing against her I feel it's going to be a good match.” The Sudirman Cup (Gold Coast, Australia) from May 21 is Sindhu’s next big assignment. “We are playing Indonesia and Denmark, so I hope we can win. It is a mixed team event so girls and boys have to perform. When it comes to one singles and doubles only one player is required so that shouldn't be any issue,” she said, asked about the effect of Saina Nehwal’s withdrawal for personal reason.
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The Olympics medallist spoke about the role played by parents in a youngster’s development, and her parents in particular. Ramana Rao, taking questions from parents of badminton players from CCI, pointed out the responsibility of parents to take young kids for training without a break, till the child develops interest. “On some days, kids don’t want to leave home for practice, those are times parents should try every possible option, including incentives like sweets, and bring them to the court.”

Sindhu revealed that eating an ice-cream was her way of recovering her mood after major setbacks on court, like the Olympics title match against Carolina Marin. Asked about handling repeated losses to the same opponent, the world number four said: “You need to look back and find out what mistakes were made in previous matches and try to reduce those the next time.” Talking about badminton after Rio, she said: “The sport is getting much more encouragement. I've seen a lot of changes. Kids picking up the sport and also a lot of academies have come up.”

CCI committee members encouraged her to go for gold at the next Olympic Games and world number one rank. A proposal was also floated about naming the entry gate to Sir Novroji Saklatwala Badminton courts after Sindhu in case she is able to pull off those feats. “I will try to keep performing in competitions, it automatically raises the ranking. I will also try to make time and use the facilities here and also have a look at the talent here.”

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