Sindhu's Macau party

P. V. SINDHU... ending her title drought this season.-PICS: V. V. SUBRAHMANYAM

P. V. Sindhu denies that she was under some pressure to win the title after entering the Macau Grand Prix final. "Like any player, I TOO GO OUT TO WIN and not to lose," she tells V. V. Subrahmanyam.

For Pusarla Venkata Sindhu, it was a huge relief as she retained the Macau Grand Prix Gold women's singles title, defeating Kim Hyo Min of Korea 21-12, 21-17 in the final that lasted 45 minutes. The victory ended the 19-year-old player's title- drought this year, and quite naturally, the World No. 11 was delighted. "Yes, winning a major title always gives you a different feeling. Though I won bronze medals at the World Championship and the Commonwealth Games, this win is something special, given the fact that it reminds me that I belong to the big league," said the gifted player from Hyderabad.

"THE FINAL WAS NOT EASY considering the manner in which Kim reached the title round," said Sindhu. "She is a brilliant player and I had to be at my best. I am glad that I could win the big points when it mattered the most.

"Especially, the way I managed to engage her in long rallies and the success with which I changed the pace of the game was extremely satisfying," she added.

Sindhu, a product of the Gopi Chand Academy, had to miss the China Open (where India's Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth won the women's and men's singles titles respectively) because of severe cold and cough. However, she had no regrets.

"I HAD TO SKIP THE TOURNAMENT on the advice of Gopi Sir (chief national coach Pullela Gopi Chand). He felt that the schedule would be too demanding and I might not be able to cope with it. Now I realise how spot on he was. I am grateful to him for all the support," Sindhu said.

Was she under some pressure to win the title when she entered the Macau Grand Prix final?

"Not really. Like any player, I too go out to win and not to lose. Yes, it is a fact that I badly needed this win, having lost in the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold final to Saina Nehwal in January this year," Sindhu pointed out.

Talking of her plans, Sindhu said: "I think overall I really played well this year but for a couple of breaks. The Uber Cup medal was historic and special. The aim is definitely to keep improving my ranking. That will mean a lot as you chalk out your long-term plans in the run-up to the 2016 Rio Olympics."

GOPI CHAND WAS OF THE VIEW that the Macau title was a "welcome result" for Sindhu. "It is always important to post such wins to keep your confidence level high. These are the things that motivate you and make you set fresh targets," he remarked.

"Yes, this has been a wonderful year for Indian badminton and I only hope things will improve further in the days to come," he added.