India’s champion shuttler, Kidambi Srikanth, fresh from his back-to-back Super Series title wins in the Denmark and the French Open s, feels that the competition is more open and the days of domination by a single country — China — are over.

“It is the most open era in the world of badminton now. But, again the intensity and the high standards are always there for us to combat,” he said with a big smile after being felicitated at the Gopichand Academy here on Tuesday.

“It is pretty clear that it is not dominated by any one single player like Lin Dan of China or a Lee Chong Wei as was the case till recently,” he said.

“I don’t mean it is the end of the era of these greats. But certainly, they are not unbeatable anymore. All that counts is how well you perform on the given day and to keep winning against players who are now unfazed by the rival’s reputation and can stun the best,” Srikanth pointed out.

PHOTO STORY: Srikanth's four Superseries titles

On being World No.2, the visibly content champion merely said he was not thinking about the No.1 spot. “I repeat, if you perform consistently, you will be there and of course, it will be one of my biggest goals though,” he said.

Gopi delighted

A beaming chief national coach-cum-mentor P. Gopi Chand, was expectedly delighted with the performance of his ward. “I could not have asked for a better showing. It has been a truly fantastic run by Srikanth. And a clear indication that he has stepped into the big league. He is showing the desired consistency now. I always believed he has the game to be a world-beater,” Gopi said.

Shuttlers felicitated

Karthik Raman, Chief Marketing Officer, IDBI Federal Life Insurance, presented Rs. 6 lakh to Srikanth as part of their ‘Quest for Excellence’ initiative in association with Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy.

H.S. Prannoy was presented Rs. 2 lakh for his semifinal appearance in the French Open and the doubles players Satwik Sai Raj, Sikki Reddy and Pranaav Jerry Chopra received Rs 1 lakh each for their consistent performances in the circuit this year.