HYDERABAD: Kidambi Srikanth has quite a few firsts to his name. Becoming the first Indian to reach three back-to-back finals of Superseries events is the latest.
On Saturday, the Hyderabad shuttler outplayed fourth seed, Shi Yuqi 21-10, 21-14 in just 37 minutes in the semifinals.
Now, the 24-year-old will have another chance to create history as he could become the first Indian male shuttler to win the Australian open. But standing between him and the coveted title is China’s Chen Long, former World No 1.
According to his long-time coach Mohd. Siyadutallah, it would be difficult for any player to tame Srikanth with his current form. Even though Chen Long has an all-round game, the Indian looks unbeatable. Self-belief and confidence have been a game-changer for him after he was injured last year.
“In all probability, it is going to be a long match. Srikanth will have to be a little patient as Chen Long makes opponents play long rallies. But having beaten top players in the last few days, his confidence must be soaring high. I expect Sriakanth to win.”
“The key to Srikanth’s success has been the amount of confidence he has in his game. He just lacked a little self-belief after the slump, but that phase is over. Coach Mulyo Handoyo too has kept him on his toes. He just needs to continue the good work,” Siyadutallah told Express.
Having seen the shuttler from close quarters, the coach thinks that Srikanth is not the kind of player who takes any pressure before the match, nor does he think about his opponents. In fact, he just concentrates on his game, rather than looking for loopholes in his opponent’s game.
“Srikanth is not the one who cares about who the opponent is. He is ‘bindass’ in his approach. Before such a big game, players would look for weakness in their opponent’s game, but he doesn’t do that. He tells us to do it, and wants to play his natural game on the court. And that works for him,” Siyadutallah concluded.