India’s premier doubles shuttler R. Satwiksairaj, fresh from his title-triumph partnering Chirag Shetty in the India Open last Sunday, said that they were glad to be back on track even as the best is yet to come.
The 21-year-old Satwik, now taking a break with his parents in his hometown Amalapuram (Andhra Pradesh), said they were desperate to win a title after a disappointing 2021.
“Honestly, we were at our best in terms of training and mental preparations three months before the 2020 Tokyo Games. Then, came the setbacks at the Olympics and the World championship. You won't believe me, I was crying for more than one hour after the loss in the Worlds,” the champion doubles specialist informed Sportstar .
“Everything looked so uncertain. Suddenly, I was asking myself what kind of game I was playing. Where had that aggression gone? Why so much negativity? There was so much confusion,” recalled Satwik, who with Chirag, is now ranked World No. 8 in men’s doubles.
“But, once I was there in the stands cheering on Lakshya (Sen) in the World championship semifinal and saw how Srikanth anna (Kidambi) fought back from a recent low to be the silver medallist in the Worlds, I felt why can’t I do that,” Satwik said. “I felt a lot more positive after watching them,” he added.
“Thankfully, Gopi sir (chief national coach P. Gopi Chand) saw to it that there was proper training with Vijaydeep Singh and Arun Vishnu taking charge of us. Somehow, there is a more comfortable feeling with them around,” he said.
“They keep things simple, are very positive, motivate us in typical, easy-going Indian style - never putting pressure. Because, we got back the confidence to bounce back the few times we were down in the India Open,” said Satwik, who with Chirag is now taking a break.
“Honestly, I don’t indulge in celebrations. For, I get a feeling we are disrespecting the opponents, some of whom have achieved so much in the sport. I always respect them for their simplicity, experience and achievements,” he said.
“Yes, having missed out the three previous editions for different reasons, there was a feeling that we should win this major tournament being held in India,” he said.
“The Delhi win is definitely a huge morale booster as we prepare for the German Open and the All England championship later this year,” Satwik said.
Areas of focus? “We have to work more on defence, be more efficient in tiring out the opponents, avoid any sort of pressure in any given situation and obviously cut down on unforced errors,” he concluded.