It has been a fairy-tale run for 25-year-old Parupalli Kashyap ever since he qualified for the London Olympics after his sensational show at the India Open Super Series tournament at Delhi. Doubtful at the start of the year, this Hyderabadi needed to win two more rounds than Ajay Jayaram at India Open Super Series this April to qualify. The hard-hitting Kashyap did it in style. Excerpts:
On Olympic mood
I’m confident of my form and want to maintain it during the Olympics. I was doubtful at the start of the year whether I will make it but at the same time did not lose hope. I worked a lot on my fitness and tried to cut down on the mistakes.
On India Open Super Series
I knew what I had to do. I had to win two more rounds than Ajay (Jayaram) and qualify. But it was a tough challenge with seeded players Boonsak (Ponsanna) and Chen Jin in the fray. I was lucky to get a walk over from Jin. But I think I played a good match against Boonsak. I was down by match point and came back strongly to win. That was the turning point. I’m happy that I qualified.
On his inconsistency
I believe in hard work. Need to be little more consistent and I’m concentrating on those lines.
On the good show at Indonesian Open
I want to be remembered as a player who worked hard to qualify. For the first time I beat the Chinese player (Chen Long). Earlier I always used to run them close but could never beat them. For me beating Chen Long was one of the biggest wins of my career. He is a very strong and sturdy player. But I managed to do well at the net and kept the rallies going.
On China and Saina Nehwal
The Chinese players dominate world badminton. It is a true fact. But I think they are beatable. In recent times, Saina Nehwal has been proving that consistently. She gave the belief that the Chinese are beatable. Saina is a role model for all of us. Personally, I have always done well against the Chinese. I took all the big three — Lin Dan, Chein Jen and Chen Long — to three games. All were close ones. So, I’m happy to beat them and defeating Long is a big lift to my morale.
On London Olympics
It is an opportunity I want to do well. I hope for a good draw. After beating Chen Long, my confidence is high. I think I will do well against anyone. London could be different as the courts would be slower. There will be more defensive and longer rallies. I’m working towards my fitness and also trying to cut down on my unforced errors.
On Lin Dan
Lin Dan is a complete player. He is good in defence and attack. I think he has slowed down a bit in the run up to the Olympics. He has changed his game. Previously he used to be an attacking player. But nowdays, his game is based mostly on defence, but he is still very effective.
On his smash shot
I hit around 260 to 270kmp in the Thomas Cup. My adrenalin flows when I play the smash shots and win points. It keeps getting better and better when I win a point with a smash shot.