Satwiksairaj Rankireddy pauses CWG celebrations to focus on World Championships

With minute tweaks in lifestyle, doubles exponent primed to take on the best in Tokyo.
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy (L) and Chirag Shetty (File Photo)
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy (L) and Chirag Shetty (File Photo)

CHENNAI: SATWIKSAIRAJ Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty had experienced euphoria in Birmingham recently. After becoming the first men's doubles pair from the country to claim a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games, Chirag was as animated as ever while the former displayed his dancing moves in front of the camera. The immediate on-court celebrations were apt. Barely a week after that historic moment, the duo are back to the grind. They are not resting on their laurels yet and have put off-court celebrations on hold ahead of the World Championships, which is scheduled to begin on August 22 in Tokyo (Japan).

"I have not celebrated so far. We have more to do. My mind is not satisfied. On court, for that moment, it was fine," Satwik tells this daily from Hyderabad, where they have resumed training after a two-day break.
"From the start itself I was telling myself, 'Don't be satisfied with CWG, you have the World Championships as well'. Once I'm done with the Worlds, maybe I can go celebrate, no matter how I play. But I want to go all-in in this upcoming Worlds. I don't know what the future holds, but we'll give our 100 per cent," he adds.

That kind of attitude is one of the reasons why the duo, despite being relatively young, are heading towards legendary status. In 2022 itself, they have been part of three landmark moments. At the India Open, they won their first Super 500 event. In the Thomas Cup, they played a pivotal role in helping India do the unthinkable and return with gold. And that was followed by the aforementioned CWG success.

"We wanted to finish on the podium as many times as possible this year. Luckily, this is the third one this year. India Open and Thomas Cup and this... great so far," Satwik notes.

But Satwik and Chirag, who are World No 7, know they still have plenty of room to improve. Satwik, who celebrated his 22nd birthday recently with some of the CWG athletes at PM's official residence, feels they'll only get better with time.

"We are in the right direction, especially since Mathias (Boe) came. We have lost a few matches but we have a feeling that we are doing the right thing. It can take time to be on the winning side. We are trying to mix our game, it's not the same as before. We are trying new things. That rhythm is building slowly and we want to develop to become top players. Even during the Thomas Cup, we had some good matches. During the CWG, we had plenty of pressure, but we did well."

Upon Boe's advice, the Amalapuram-born star has made subtle adjustments to his lifestyle, something that he feels has made a big difference.

"During my junior days, I could go out and eat whatever I wanted. Now, I'm realising that I don't have that luxury. Small things make a huge difference. If I go out, I'll be tired and that could affect my game. So now, I only go once on Saturday. I can rest on Sunday and then resume practice on Monday. In the past, I used to go out for movies and food. It is very difficult but we have to do this if we want to break into the top three. We have to be professional."

Another reason why the Birmingham return was fulfilling was the fact that his elder brother, Ramcharan, someone who has inspired him over the years, was rooting for him from the stands.

"It was a special moment. We were literally in tears. He recently got married and his wife was also there. So it was like a first-anniversary gift from my side."

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