MUMBAI: India's ace male shuttler Kidambi Srikanth today produced top a superlative performance to shock Lee Chong Wei for his maiden win over the Malaysian legend in the Premier Badminton League here, and soon after said the victory was a big confidence booster for him.
"It's for the first time ever that I have beaten him. I had lost in three games iin the IBL (PBL's predecessor Indian Badminton League in 2013). He's been the world no. 1 for 7-8 years. It's a great feeling to beat such a great player and is a big confidence booster at the start of the Olympic year," said the world no. 9 after his memorable victory.
Srikanth overcame Lee, a man he had not beaten in four previous attempts in international tournaments, 15-12 6-15 15-7 in the fifth and final match of the tie between his side Bengaluru Top Guns and Hyderabad Hunters which the latter won 3-2 on points.
Asked to compare his win over Lee today and another shuttle legend, two-time Olympic Champion Lin Dan of China in the China Open Super Series final in 2014, the 22-year-old shuttler said both were equally memorable as well as his successive wins over Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in 2015 at the Swiss Open and the Indian Open.
"I don't want to rate my wins over Lin Dan and Viktor earlier and today's. Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei are kings in their styles of play. Lin Dan is a two-time Olympic champion and is king in rallies while Lee Chong Wei has been on top for 7-8 years and is great in defense. I am very happy to beat both styles and don't want to rate them." Srikanth said.
Asked what different he did today to beat Lee, Srikanth said he went into an aggressive mode.
"I played very aggressively and went for my smashes which worked perfectly. If you see the last four points of the match all were reviewed as I went for the lines," he said.
Asked about his plans in his quest to qualify for the Rio Olympic Games, Srikanth said out of the 10 or 11 tournaments left, he will play in four Super Series events and one or two GP Gold tournaments including the Syed Modi Memorial in Lucknow.
"I want to be in my comfort zone and will play all Super Series events plus 1 or 2 GP Gold events. I will play in Lucknow and in the Asian Badminton Championships in Hyderabad in February," he said.
Srikanth was happy that currently as many as four Indian players were in the top 25 and hoped more, at least 6-7 would be in such a position soon.
"I hope 6-7 (men) players are in the top 25," he said.