CHENNAI: Denmark Open is knocking on the door. The official draw, which features six Indians including the likes of Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth, was announced on Wednesday. The tournament begins on October 13.
Shuttlers are relishing the prospect of doing what they love, but there are also apprehensions at the back of their minds in regards to rules in Odense amid pandemic. "We are just happy to play. I wonder how we'll reach there safely and how the arrangements will be there," Parupalli Kashyap, who was handed a
difficult draw, said when asked about the prospect of returning to action.
Another Indian in the fray, Subhankar Dey, echoed similar concerns. "That (rules in regards to Covid-19) is a big question at the back of my mind. We don't know what is going to happen. I have no idea if I need to test here or there."
As per official prospectus of the tournament, all players and officials will be allowed entry into Denmark and there are no rules for quarantine on entry.
However, if a shuttler happens to fall ill at the time, he/she has been instructed to stay home and not travel to the European nation. Further, the prospectus also states that the organisers "will ensure a test strategy is in place".
As things stand, the visa application process is on for Kashyap & Co and they'll depart once they get their visas. For the likes of Subhankar and Ajay Jayaram, who're not part of the TOPS scheme, they have to fend for themselves once they reach Odense. Despite concerns, Subhankar is hopeful of being on the
court and ascertain where he stands. "We'll be playing in a competitive environment after a long time. We need to come back to that mentality (competitive). It is going to be tough playing any match," Subhankar, who will be up against Jason Anthony Ho-Shue in Round 1, assessed.
Terming it tough will be an understatement while discussing Kashyap's draw. Kashyap could possibly face World No 1 Kento Momota, who's been cut above the rest, in the second round. Saina, meanwhile, will face World No 135 Yaelle Hoyaux. "Draw is good. She's making good progress," Kashyap said. Apart from Saina, the focus will be on Srikanth. The highest-ranked Indian has fond memories playing at the venue, having won the $750,000 meet in 2017.
Draw (Rd 1): Men: Parupalli Kashyap vs Koki Watanabe (JPN); Lakshya Sen vs Christo Popov (FRA); Subhankar Dey vs Jason Anthony Ho-Shue (CAN); Kidambi Srikanth vs Toby Penty (ENG). Women: S Nehwal vs Yaelle Hoyaux (FRA).