A Shuttler in Express Mode: Srikanth Cherishes Maiden Title at Nationals
By N Jagannath Das | Published: 25th December 2013 01:38 AM |
Kidambi Srikanth is on a roll. The 20-year-old Hyderabadi shuttler ended the year on a high by winning his maiden national title in New Delhi on Monday. Srikanth, who created ripples in badminton circles when he won the Thailand Open Gold Grand Prix defeating World No 5 Boonsak Poonsana, is all set for an exciting season.
“Year 2013 has been really good and finishing off with a national title is a great feeling. To beat the likes of (Parupalli) Kashyap and (RMV) Gurusaidutt, gives a lot of confidence. The nationals had a good number of top 50 players of the world and to emerge champion is a great feeling,” said Srikanth, a day after he beat Gurusaidutt in the final.
Although the national championship is not as strong as the international circuit, it is always a great honour to participate, he reckoned. “The international tournaments are much stronger and different from national event. At the same time, it is always a matter of pride to play in the nationals and become a champion,” he added.
He still cherishes his maiden Grand Prix title in Thailand, wherein he scalped world No 6 Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark and Poonsana. “I was a junior and I beat Poonsana in front of his home crowd. It was a sheer magical moment for me. I was never under pressure and I could play a free game that day,” he pointed out.
Srikanth feels that the inaugural IBL was a different kind of experience. “You don’t get that kind of experience. It is a team event and there is different kind of pressure. There should be different kind of strategy. For the first time, we played in front of a full-house stadium.’’
He said he prefers to be an aggressive player. “I like to play aggressive because that is my style. I have to play attacking shots. But I have to improve my all-round game, particularly my defence. I have to be fast on the court and put more power into my strokes. It needs a lot of hard work. Speed, power and endurance are the important ingredients of the game. I want to be more consistent and be more confident,’’ he said.
Ranked 35th in the world after hovering around 60s before the Thailand Open, Srikanth hopes to break into the top 15 in 2014. “I hope to break into the top 15. I just want to perform consistently and win titles. Once you keep winning, your ranking will be taken care of,’’ he said.
One of his other important agendas is to qualify for the Asian and Commonwealth Games. “I have to have a good ranking to qualify for the Asian or Commonwealth Games. That is one of my priorities in the new season. My first two international events will be in Korea and Malaysia. I need to have good starts,’’ he signed off.