KOCHI: If not for badminton, PV Sindhu would have been a doctor. Yeah...you read it right. The country’s golden girl opens her heart out to TNIE about her journey, the lessons she’s learnt from sports, what an excellent shuttler Deepika Padukone is.
When did you know that badminton is the sport for you?
I started playing at the age of eight-and-a-half. Back then, it was for fun. My dad used to play volleyball and right beside his court, there used to be a badminton court. I used to play there every day. The sport came naturally to me and my parents supported me. That’s how I kept playing and reached where I am today.
What are the lessons you learnt from sports?
I have learnt a lot, you learn a lot from sports, especially when you are down or low. I think it is very important to come back stronger. So, as soon as you make up your mind, coming back stronger is important and I have learnt that. Sports has also taught me patience. I have leant how to handle situations; sometimes when you are playing a match, it is very important to change your mindset. For example, when you lose points, it is important to immediately switch your focus on winning the next point.
Even though you are a champion, you need to understand where you have come from. Also, it’s very important to take time out for your friends and maintain that bond of friendship. In sports, you meet a lot of people and tend to play with your opponents from different countries. That the bond and friendship is important. On court you might be very aggressive, but off court, friendship is needed.
On the importance of encouraging children to pick up a sport?
I think it is really good if they start something from the grassroots level. Many are actually doing that and I appreciate the fact that the government is being very supportive. Also, parents’ support is a must. Sports is definitely important for kids.
Had you not been a badminton champion, what would your career choice be?
When I was young, I really thought that I would become a doctor. But I think badminton is much better because when I started playing the sport, I never looked back or thought that I would need another career option. It has always been badminton for me.
Your recent video of you and actor Deepika Padukone playing a friendly match went viral. Tell us more about it?
Deepika plays really well and was wonderful playing with her. She is a sweet and fun person. I never thought she could play so well.
You have a smart sense of style. Does that come naturally to you or do you put in an effort to dress up?
I really like following the latest fashion. Be it on or off the court, I love to dress up. I am like another girl, who really likes to dress up, and I don’t put in an effort as such. I need to feel comfortable in what I wear.
Tell us about your diet?
It is important for an athlete to understand their body. I usually eat rice, a lot of people prefer roti. I avoid oily food and junk because if I put on weight, I’ll have a hard time on court. It slows me down.
What does fitness mean to you?
Fitness is very important in everyone’s life. I play badminton, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t stay fit off the court. There are different types of fitness -- endurance, weight training, exercises, jumps and others. You have to make sure that you are quick and ready all the time. It is a mix of everything; endurance is required for long matches, at the same time strength and weight training sessions are also key. Fitness means a lot to me.