Sindhu: ‘New service law could have come at a better time’

According to the new rule, “the whole of the shuttle shall be below 1.15 metres from the surface of the court at the instant of being hit by the server’s racket”. It will be tested at next year’s All England Open Championships.

Sindhu also said there is no point complaining about the cramped calendar as the shuttlers cannot ignore matches.   -  K. MURALI KUMAR

Defending champion Chennai Smashers would be out to prove that the opening loss against Awadhe Warriors in Guwahati was an aberration, as the team takes on Mumbai Rockets in the Vodafone Premier Badminton League (PBL) which moves into the Siri Fort Sports Complex on Wednesday.

As coach Gangula Prasad pointed out, the loss of a tie does not matter as long as a team keeps gathering the points from the individual matches, as eventually the semifinalists would be decided on that.

Sindhu stronger than Saina: World No. 1 Tai

The star in the team, who had little difficulty in asserting herself as the trump in the opening match, especially in the absence of Saina Nehwal, who withdrew with an injury niggle, PV Sindhu was confident that the team would put up a good fare on Wednesday evening.

“I was expecting that Saina would play. I put the trump from my side. I was actually relaxed eventually as we had to prepare according to the opponent I was playing against’’, said Sindhu, who acknowledged a nice year for herself, especially with her entry in the World Championship final and the season ending Super Series Final in Dubai.

“In both the finals, it was anybody’s match. I should not have made the mistakes. I am learning from the mistakes,’’ said Sindhu, happy with the good season and confident that she was getting better.

Read: Saina misses PBL meeting with Sindhu

Sindhu was equally categorical that the new service rule being introduced selectively had to be learnt, but opined that it was perhaps not right to introduce it in an important event like the All England Championship.

While Chennai would be playing its second match after a three-day gap, Mumbai which beat Delhi would be playing its second match within three days. More than the game on court, it will be a challenge for the players to handle the travel and other aspects that go with the exercise. That can make the best of players vulnerable on a given day, and that could be the opening for the less accomplished players to pounce on and capitalise.

Looking at the long season ahead, Sindhu emphasised that it was important to be ready physically and mentally.

“I play with a fresh mind, ready to give 100 per cent in every match’’, said Sindhu, quick to concede that she would be selective, depending on the importance of the contest.

She was equally clear that every player would prepare in their own distinct ways to capitalise on the chances that come their way.

Looking at the competition in the league, Sindhu stressed that there were a lot of good players this time and that it would be interesting contests ahead.

“It all depends on who plays well on that day,’’ Sindhu remarked.

Each of the eight teams get five matches in the league phase, and the top four teams in terms of the accumulated individual points make the semifinals to be staged in Hyderabad. Chennai has three points and two of them were collected by Sindhu, as she was the trump.

Even as the teams took turns to practice on the match court, the preparations were on a war footing at the arena in the Siri Fort Complex, for the first of five matches to be played over the last five days of a very satisfying year for Indian badminton.

Action will shift to Lucknow thereafter, before it moves to Chennai and to Hyderabad for the climax.