Mumbai: Declaring himself fully fit after recovering from a thigh muscle strain, India's number one male shuttler Kidambi Srikanth said here on Saturday that it was important to win the upcoming Dubai Super Series Finals rather than focusing on becoming the world number one.
"I am not thinking about (becoming) world no. 1. It’s more important to win the Super Series finals (in Dubai). I only think about performance, not the ranking," Srikanth told reporters after being conferred with an honorary life membership by the Cricket Club of India here.
"If I can really do well or win the tournament, I can become the world no. 1," added Srikanth who was a quarter finalist at last year’s Rio Olympic Games.
The Dubai World Super Series Finals is to be held from December 13-17 and Srikanth is currently ranked no. 4. The Hyderabad shuttler, who created a sensation this year by winning four Super Series titles besides finishing runner-up in another, missed two tournaments after picking up his thigh injury following the nationals in Nagpur.
"I was injured after the nationals two weeks ago, had to skip the China and Hong Kong Opens. I am feeling good now. The body has recovered. I am just looking forward for a great next week," said the 24-year-old shuttler who won Super Series Open crowns in Indonesia, Australia, Denmark and France.
"I did not play for one-one and a half weeks and then started my rehab. It was a thigh muscle strain. I am (now) back to full fitness," he added.
He described the year that?s coming to an end as "fantastic" personally.
"It has been a really fantastic last 6-8 months; just one more tournament left for me this year and I want to do well in the last tournament that I have. I feel I did great, but there’s still a lot to come," he said.
Looking ahead to next year, Srikanth said he wanted to take a break and train well before the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and World Championships.
"It’s definitely a big year. Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, World Championships and Super Series. Tournaments have also been increased to 50. I really want to keep myself fit for the big events. That’s what I am thinking about, that’s my priority to be 100 per cent fit. Before the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games I want to take a break, train hard and then be fit for the event."
"I had not really pushed myself in the beginning. Had slowly started to push and gradually improved on fitness, but overall the (self) belief is what has made a huge difference," he said when asked what was the key to his outstanding performance this year.
He stayed clear of controversy over the cramped scheduling of events that was recently crititicised by India’s national coach, Pullela Gopichand.
"The tournaments have increased but at the end of it I don’t want to comment as it’s a BWF (Badminton World Federation) decision and I don’t want to get into any controversy," he said.
He also said he would start practising the new serve, to be made mandatory by BWF, after the end of the India Open in Delhi early next year.
"It’s going to be tough. I have not tried it myself yet. I will try it after the India Open Super Series. I have heard they are implementing it with the All England (Super Series event). It’s going to be very challenging. It’s upto BWF to decide on the rules," he explained.
He also hailed the inputs of new singles coach Mulyo Handayo from Indonesia.
"He’s someone who has a huge experience. He taught Taufik (Hidayat) from a beginner (before guiding him) to an Olympic gold medal. He has 25-30 years experience. It’s huge advantage to have such a coach and it has showed (from our performance)," he said...