Kidambi Srikanth is our pick for the top athlete of the year. What better way can we usher in the New Year than by asking him to narrate his phenomenal last 12 months?
He fleshes out his aspirations and approach for 2018 in this write-up:
The year has been a topsy-turvy one and my injury period has taught me a lot. It taught me to be patient, and I kind of used that on the court as well. 2017 can arguably be said to be one of the best eras for Indian badminton, for both men and women. To have players like (HS) Prannoy, Sai (Praneeth), Sameer (Verma) and Ajay (Jayaram) in the top-20 is a great feeling. It has motivated me to do better, and training with such great players day in day out gives me confidence.
I had a rough time during the start of the year due to injuries, when I slipped from World No 15 to World No 33. But I always wanted to make a strong comeback to the circuit. During my injury period, I did a lot of physiotherapy, and that made me stronger.
When I came back to the court, I was just focussing on hitting it right, and the results were a bonus. My hard work made me cruise throughout that period. After the first title, I just wanted to keep the momentum going.
Though I wanted to end the year on a high with Dubai Superseries, I couldn’t. It was disappointing, as every player wants to win a Superseries. I was injured at a very wrong time, when I was really playing well. But, now I am feeling confident. So it’s more about training now. There’s always a next time. All my energies are focussed on the Premier Badminton League. After that, it’s about preparing myself for the Indonesia Open and India Open.
2018 is going to be ‘pick and choose’ in terms of playing tournaments. In Superseries events, it’s more about doing well in every time I play. If I am fit and feeling confident, I can win. It’s about staying fit for long periods of time and not skipping too many tournaments. It’s more important to maintaining the body well. Hence, there’s no specific Superseries event that I am planning to work hard for. It’s about choosing tournaments and training well in between. I don’t want to push myself for too many tournaments. It’s about playing one, getting some time to train, and then playing another.
As I move to 2018, my main aim is to stay injury-free. It’s more important, keeping in mind that there are events like the Commonwealth Games, the Asian Championships, and the World Championship.
In fact, I won four Superseries events in 2017 because I remained fit. Before the World Championship, I was little injured. I couldn’t train that well for it. After that, I had to take a break, skip the Korea Open. But I recovered in time for the Japan Open with an injury. I couldn’t do well there, and even before the Dubai Superseries, it was the same scenario.
There is definitely no pressure on me as I move up the ladder. I am looking to stay strong, and that’s how I am planning to live up to the expectations of the people, after having a splendid year.