KOCHI: For HS Prannoy, it is all about taking small steps these days as he looks to try and get back to his best. The 29-year-old made his first Tour final since 2017 when he reached the men's final of the Swiss Open on Sunday.
Over the course of two games, Prannoy was beaten by Jonatan Christie 21-12, 21-18. Instead of feeling dejected, Prannoy wants to focus on the positives and believes that it is important to keep the momentum going.
"It was the third week of tournaments for us and to play a final in the third week is always tough. The body gets to a point where it is a little tired and you are not 100 per cent. I think I felt the fatigue (in the final) because the semifinal was a little draining. The legs were not really fresh for me. I was struggling to move quickly and I think for the first time in the last three weeks, I was feeling a bit slower in the movements. And I think that's why I was a little impatient in the first game," Prannoy told this daily on Monday.
The semifinal was a marathon affair against Indonesia's World No 5 Anthony Ginting with the Indian winning the contest 21-19, 19-21, 21-18.
Having battled a series of injuries throughout his career, Prannoy felt that it was just about trying to do the best at the moment. A final in almost five years is something to build on, but Prannoy feels that thinking too far ahead isn't the best course of action at the moment.
"The most important thing is to consistently play at a certain level and get better. I think I've been able to do that in the last six months and I'm able to play continuously at a good level. I've not kept big targets. The targets are not to win big tournaments or win a Super Series."
"The targets are very simple and small ones where I take care of the body and enjoy playing each and every round. That's the bigger target for me rather than playing a Super Series final because that gives a lot of pressure as such and you may not be able to perform at your best when you put that kind of pressure on yourself," the shuttler from Thiruvananthapuram said.
The former World No 8 has battled various health issues in his career and was diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease back in 2018. Prannoy has taken it all in his stride and feels that it is about how you bounce back from a setback that is more important.
"Injuries have been a part of me, not just me but a lot of players. But the important thing is how do you come out of it as quickly as possible and how you deal with it mentally. The toughest thing in the sport is not to play, it's when each and every break happens and you have to come back. That's hard. If you are continuously playing, then it is easy to play actually. But when you are on and off the court, that's when it can get really tiring and the process is very long for you to come back each and every time. That's why I said that the targets are very small these days," he added.
The immediate target for Prannoy is the Korea Open Badminton Championships. The Super 500 event is due to be held in Suncheon from April 5 to 10.