CHENNAI: Another momentous occasion. Another instance of burden of expectations resting on a few shoulders. When Indians set foot on Arena Birmingham on Wednesday, it will be their 18th chance to come back with the elusive All England Badminton Championships. And once again, the onus will be on the singles players. Among them, fifth seed PV Sindhu will be the frontrunner.
However, it will not be an easy affair, as she will be up against some really tough opponents. In the first round, she has been paired against Sung Ji Hyun. Last year, the lanky South Korean had defeated Sindhu twice in three meetings, with the latter winning at the World Championships.
From a field that has the likes of Tai Tzu Ying and Nozomi Okuhara, one major force is missing: Carolina Marin. In a chat with this newspaper, Sindhu said Marin’s absence does not make things easier. “There are other really good players. I think it is not going to be easy, since the Japanese and the Chinese have been playing really well. Ratchanok Intanon has also been doing the same. Yes, a few shuttlers are missing, but that does not make the competition easier. Every player is of the same standard,” she said. In the last match that Sindhu played against Marin, the latter had cruised to a win in just 37 minutes with a 21-11, 21-12 win in Indonesia Masters quarters.
The 23-year-old has been preparing for this tournament for three weeks. Asked what area she focused on, the World No 6 said: “I worked on all of my strokes, not just a particular shot. To work on all the strokes is very important. Another important aspect is to have a balance between the mental and physical aspects of the game.”
Queried about her first round opponent, she retorted: “It will be a good match, but it will definitely not be an easy match since we know each other’s games.”
“It is a very important tournament but I treat all of them the same. Sometimes, we might play well, other times it might not be our day. I hope one of the Indians wins this,” she concluded.