Mumbai: Super Series titles, ticked. Olympic medal, ticked. Medals at the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, Badminton World Championships, Asia Championships, ticked. Presence in the top ten of the world rankings, ticked. PV Sindhu is just 22 and she has almost won everything that’s there to be won to be termed as one of the better shuttlers to have played the game.
While there have been some disappointments of missing out on some titles, her rise on the badminton scene has given Indian women’s badminton a new hero in addition to Kidambi Srikanth and Saina Nehwal, who is taking some big steps to come back on top after injuries and surgeries.
Sindhu, who was in Mumbai on Tuesday along with Kidambi Srikanth, Mary Kom, Sakshi Malik and Lalita Babar as Bridgestone India announced the four new athletes to join Sindhu as 'Team Bridgestone' brand ambassadors.
Sindhu spoke at length on the variety of topics, including Saina’s comeback to her All England Championships ambitions. Here are the excerpts:
You’re one of the top shuttlers in the country and tipped to reach great heights. How did things change after your Olympics silver, not just badminton but coping with the pressure?
After the 2016 Rio Olympics, my life has changed a lot and it is not only on the court but also off court. People’s expectations have been more and besides that, you have to attend a lot of events here and there. We need to balance that with badminton which is actually tough and we need to make it happen. And for me, especially coming to that stage has been really very tough. So for that, I really need to work a lot more from now on.
I’m really very happy because of and on the court I have been enjoying things and they have been working out for me. I have been having good encouragement from sponsors as well. It is good that people coming up this way could motivate and encourage us to do more better.
How important has fitness become with the crammed BWF schedule?
Matches have been so long and looking up to that I have been playing really long. Winning and losing is the secondary part but you need to maintain and keep yourself fit, which is very important for every athlete. Talking about the schedule which has been really tight, including the Commonwealth and Asian Games, you cannot do anything about it rather than thinking which tournament to play and which not to play.
You need to decide for yourself and it depends on each individual. Sometimes you might just not give your 100 per cent if you’re just staying back and keeping yourself fit, competing for each tournament. Injuries are part of life, you cannot play a tournament if you are suffering. So you have to choose on your own and discuss what to play and what not to play.
Barring the All England Championships you have won everything – Olympic medal, Super Series, CWG, Asian Games and BWF World Championships. Are you targeting that tournament this year to complete your career in terms of titles?
Definitely, I want to see myself there and hope to do well in the tournament (in March). But I have to give my best and play my game, believe in myself because I have trained well going into the tournaments.
What's your take on Saina Nehwal comeback and Indian badminton scene?
Saina has come back and it is good that she is doing really well. Apart from that, the men are doing really well. Not one or two but (there are) (Kidambi) Srikanth, (HS) Prannoy, B Sai Praneeth and others too have been doing well. It is actually good that badminton as a sport is improving in one or the other way. Before it was just one or two but if you see now, in men’s, there are five-six in top 50. In women’s, there are me and Saina and there are some of the youngsters who are doing really well.
It is good that we as an Indian team, we have been filled with a lot of players, who are doing well and representing the country. For us, it is a very good support for each other because we are there and the other players are also doing well supporting us. In one way, it is good that we are giving something to the nation....