India's badminton star PV Sindhu, who could clash with shuttle queen Saina Nehwal at the Olympics, ready for keen rivalry at Games
After winning the Malaysia Masters in January, World No 10 PV Sindhu hasn't managed to reach the semi-final stage of any tournament. Despite her inconsistent performances, the 20-year-old hopes to win a medal at the August 5-21 Rio Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
"I am very excited and look forward to play my first Olympics. It's also great that seven players have made the cut for the Rio Games, which is a great thing for the country. Personally, there is no pressure on me. It is my ultimate goal to win an Olympic medal. It's (Olympic medal) much more than world championships. I hope to achieve that in my first Olympics and if I do so, it will be a dream come true for me," said the Hyderabadi shuttler.
Our first priority will be to stay fit and healthy for Rio. The next important events for us (Indian players) are the Thomas & Uber Cups (May 15-22 in Kunshan, China). After that we will be playing in Indonesia and Australia," said Sindhu, who is supported by Olympic Gold Quest.
Sindhu said that every player at the Olympics will be a tough opponent, but personally she feels Thai World No 2 Ratchanok Intanon is dangerous. "Every player participating in Olympics is capable of winning a medal. For now, I feel Ratchanok is playing really well."
She said medal hopes are higher in the women's singles event in Rio where London Games bronze-medallist Saina Nehwal and she are in the fray. "That (likelihood of facing Saina in Rio) is a possibility. We have an on-court rivalry, but otherwise we are friends. We both will fight for ourselves. Maybe if we play each other (in the final) then it will be great as we might bring back two medals," she said jokingly.
Sindhu is aware that she hasn't been consistent with her performances, but she is happy over her maturity as a player. "In the Asia Badminton Championships, I lost a close match to Tai Tzu Ying (21-13, 20-22, 8-21). It's disappointing but I am learning with each game and I have matured as a player. Yes, it is important to be consistent, but sometimes you may not play your 100 per cent or it's just not your day. You really can't be your best everytime. It's part and parcel of the game," said the five feet, 10 inches badminton star.
P Kashyap not being in the men's team is a drawback for the Indian contingent. "It was unfortunate that a month-long injury lay-off ended Kashyap's Rio dreams. We all were shocked when we got to know about this. For K Srikanth, it is his first Olympics and I hope he does well," she said.
Apart from playing on the Olympic stage, something that Sindhu is looking forward to at Rio is to meet her favourite tennis players Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the Games Village. "I listen to music and even watch tennis or cricket to unwind. I love Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. I would love to bump into them at Rio," she added.
Sindhu also spoke on the following:
On Target Olympic Podium scheme:
We are trying to put forward our needs so that they can help us in every way.
Saina, the inspiration:
She has been an inspiration to not just me, but many players across the country. I think she did really well in the last Olympics.
As of now we haven't spoken about the Olympics. We discuss what's happening and he points out my mistakes. It's really very important to talk to your coach about all this as he has a different perspective so he gives me an outside view and tells me where I need to change my game.
On reacting to defeats:
You need to overcome defeats. At the same time, learn from it. Earlier I used to take a lot of time to recover from a defeat. Not now.
On Chinese shuttlers:
There was this notion that Chinese shuttlers were unbeatable. Now they are not. It's not easy to beat them, but it's not impossible. You need to be mentally and physically strong against them.
On the difference in training for Olympics and other tournaments:
We haven't got much time to train. Our schedule is too tight. After the Thomas and Uber Cups we have Indonesia and Australia. Post that, we have one month in which have to train hard mentally, physically and psychologically. Our first priority will be to stay fit and healthy for Rio.