World No 1 Son Wan Ho drowns in Kidambi Srikanth surge

Srikanth’s elder brother Kidambi Nandgopal, who too trains at the Pullela Gopichand Academy, feels it’s belief that sets Srikanth apart.

Published: 18th June 2017 06:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th June 2017 09:41 AM   |  A+A-

India's Srikanth Kidambi plays against South Korea's Son Wan-ho during their men's singles semi final match at Indonesia Open badminton championship in Jakarta Indonesia Saturday June 17 2017. | AP

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Those who follow Indian badminton know that Kidambi Srikanth is one of the brightest talents. His performance in the last two Super Series events — Singapore and Indonesia where he made the finals — is testimony to the statement.

With everyone celebrating HS Prannoy’s giant-killing run at Indonesia Open, where he beat Chen Long and Lee Chong Wei, few paid attention to Srikanth. On Saturday, as Prannoy lost in the semis, Srikanth stunned World No 1 Son Wan Ho of South Korea 21-15, 18-21, 24-22.

Srikanth’s elder brother Kidambi Nandgopal, who too trains at the Pullela Gopichand Academy, feels it’s belief that sets Srikanth apart. After a slump in form and rankings following the Olympics, the former World No 3 kept faith in his game, and waited patiently to get back to his best.

“Srikanth is a very positive lad. He isn’t bogged down by failures. Post Olympics, he was injured for the rest of the season. He had dropped to 31 in rankings. But with the support of coaches and his own mental strength, he’s doing really well,” Nandgopal told Express.

Nandgopal, who shares a close bond with his brother, keeps advising Srikanth from time to time, on areas to improve, which others may not be able to point out.

“There are times when I point out shortcomings. Srikanth works on them. I remember pointing out certain glitches in his game during the Indian Open and Singapore Open, which he worked on. Those were the areas that the coaches also asked him to work on. So it feels good that I could help him improve his game, even if slightly.”

But the elder brother makes it a point not to bother him with suggestions during tournaments. He feels that a player should be left to himself, as a lot of concentration is required while playing at big events.

“I don’t talk about matches when he is away for a tournament. If I do so, it could hamper his rhythm going into a match. Moreover, he has enough experience on his side to come out of tricky situations,” Nandgopal added.

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