Sindhu: ‘We cannot blame the BWF for a tight schedule’

Sindhu isn’t too worried about a cramped schedule. She insisted she will pick and choose tournaments judiciously to keep fit and do better.

Chennai Smashers players P.V. Sindhu, Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock with team owner Vijay Prabhakaran with the PBL Trophy on Thursday.   -  K. Pichumani

When 2017 started, India’s P.V. Sindhu had an enormous task at hand — to match the expectations of herself and the fans alike. A silver medal in the world's most prestigious event in the preceding year, the Olympics, sent her popularity charts soaring and the Hyderabadi shuttler was making sense of her newfound fame and fan following.

But Sindhu surpassed all expectations. Two titles, two silver medals in Superseries events, a silver in the World Championships to go with runner-up finish in the season-ending Superseries Finals has kept her in good stead but the 22-year-old modestly admits that the year has seen just as many downs as the ups.

A new year and a new season beckons, and Sindhu seems ever ready for the challenges ahead. With BWF packing in more tournaments and making it mandatory for players to compete in at least 12 Super Series tournaments, it won’t be an easy year. If that weren’t enough, it’s the year of the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, where badminton features prominently, but Sindhu isn’t too perturbed by the cramped calendar.

“Picking and choosing tournaments in the future is an option going forward. In my opinion, that should be there. You need to be fit enough to train and perform in the ones that you need to. You have to pick and choose tournaments.”

"A tight schedule is always there. We need to be prepared for it. We need to play tournaments accordingly. We cannot blame the BWF always. There is nothing that is going to change now,” Sindhu, who was in the city for the jersey launch ceremony of Chennai Smashers, said.

Sindhu, in fact, seems to have it all worked out. “How I am looking at it is that it gives me a chance to discuss with my coaches and play tournaments accordingly. By doing so, it also gives the younger and upcoming players to take part in the tournaments that we don't play and it acts as a much-needed exposure for them too," she said.

"Picking and choosing tournaments in the future is an option going forward. In my opinion, that should be there. You need to be fit enough to train and perform in the ones that you need to. You have to pick and choose tournaments."

The shuttler felt losing in three finals has made her richer in experience and takes heart from the fact that she competed well. "I didn't feel that there was just a single mistake that dented my progress. I have no regrets. It is a game and in a game, you win and lose. That's how I went in too and that's how I look at it today. My coaches and I spoke about them, I took tips (on improving) and in the end, it wasn't my day. Overall, I played good matches. I gave my best. Winning and losing was a part of it all," she said with a smile.

Sindhu didn't shy away from acknowledging the fact that stamina played a huge part in her endeavours. "Yes, stamina has played a major role. It is important in everyone's career. You need to be mentally and physically fit to compete at this level, especially when you play matches of more than 2 hours (referring to her World Championship match against Nazomi Okuhara).”

Talking about the Premier Badminton League (PBL), Sindhu said the Indian league gives her a chance to learn the finer points from foreign players. "It (PBL) is very important. It is an Indian league, there are youngsters and kids getting motivated by this. We also get the big stars here. It is important to play these leagues as a team, as we have different players of various nationalities, we can also get their views on our games," she noted.