Very few players have, perhaps, elicited as much praise for their grace and style from their contemporaries in recent times as Tai Tzu Ying.
The 25-year-old Chinese Taipei, currently ranked two in the world, has received glowing reviews from none other than P. V. Sindhu and Saina Nehwal to name a few.
Neither a powerful smasher nor a very great mover, Tai makes it up with her wonderful deception and graceful movements much like a ballet dancer.
A two-time All-England Open champion and a two-time BWF World Tour finals winner, Tai held the numero Uno position for the most number of weeks, only to lose it intermittently after a string of below-par results.
In an e-mail interview with Sportstar , Tai speaks about Sindhu and Saina, and the reasons for her long reign at the top. “I really want to make this year special,” she said, also making it clear that she wants to do well at the Tokyo Olympics.
Q. You have been at the top of the women's singles rankings for a record 137 weeks in two spells. What would you put your success down to?
A: It feels great that I could be there for so long but this is a game where one has to work continuously and work hard. I train with my coaches and team and every match needs to be looked as a fresh challenge. You have to always give your 100 per cent and not take any match lightly.
You have won nearly every BWF World Tour titles barring the World championship title and at the Olympic Games. Can you break that starting with Tokyo?
I want to win in Tokyo. I have been working hard and training relentlessly for it. Who won’t want to win a medal at the Olympics especially when I went to my first Olympics (2012) I was too young [18-years-old] and excited.
You have a very good record against Sindhu (5-12) and Saina Nehwal (5-15). Are there any technical advantages you possess over them?
Sindhu is a very tough player and Saina is a very determined one, [who] never gives up. I have just tried to aim to cut her pace and court movement while I face Sindhu but with Saina you can’t take a moment at ease. She makes strong comebacks and most importantly I have to personally cut down my own mistakes.
2019 was reasonably disappointing year for you where you won three titles compared to 2018 where you won half-a-dozen. What went wrong?
For me, my fitness is very important and if I am fit and in a positive mind state, I can win any game. I mostly lose a match because of the mistakes I make.
On playing for Bengaluru Raptors this time in PBL?
I am looking forward to my time with the Raptors and playing in South India.
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