CHENNAI: With margins between top players negligible, ace Indian shuttler PV Sindhu, with the help of her coach Park Tae Sang, has been digging into every detail to add to her game before the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Sindhu, who bagged a historic silver medal during the Rio Olympics, is expecting a ‘different’ challenge this time.
Familiar rival Carolina Marin, who recently said that she has a torn ACL, won’t be there in Tokyo to defend her title. But Sindhu, who faced the Spaniard during the Rio final, knows there are other strong contenders who could produce magic.
“Everyone from No 1 (ranking) to 10 is very close. There are many good players, you can’t take it easy. Everybody will be determined to give their best. Even low-ranked players won’t be easy. I have to keep working hard, I just need to be focussed and give my best,” she says, during a media interaction arranged by Sports Authority of India (SAI).
“When it comes to Tai Tzu (Ying), she is a very tricky player. Ratchanok (Intanon) is very skillful. We have to look out for them. Everybody has a different style of play.”
Tai Tzu has proven to be a real thorn for Sindhu, leading 13-5 in head-to-head record. But Sindhu will take heart from the fact that she had beaten Tai Tzu in a big event — 2019 World Championships.
Intanon, who holds a 6-4 head-to-head record against Sindhu, has also been a tricky customer for the Indian.
Sindhu is aware that all those top players would have done their homework and is looking to add a surprise element to her game.
“This is a very good time to improve my skill and technique, which I’m doing now. I think I have improved. It’s good that I have got so much time because generally, we don’t get so much time. We just go for a tournament, come back and rectify our mistakes and again go for tournaments. So we don’t have much time to learn new techniques and new skills. Obviously, it takes time to learn new techniques and skills. So this was the time to learn and I have been using it well. I hope I can use new techniques and skills during the Olympics,” the 25-year-old says.
The lanky shuttler is generally in her comfort zone while using her attacking instincts, Sindhu said that she’s also working on her defense.
“My attacking game is my strength. So I’m also focussing on my defense as my rivals won’t let me attack. I have to be prepared for everything.”
The last event that Sindhu participated in was the All England Open, where she did well to reach the semifinals. That tournament was held in March.
Shuttlers are generally used to heavy periods of activity throughout the year.
“It’s going to be different. We haven’t faced each other for two months. Everybody would be working on improving their skills and techniques.”
“Everybody wants to win. For me it’s the same. Each point is important, each match is vital. I don’t think about the finals. I take it one match at a time,” she says, when pointed about her big appetite in big events.