2013 has been my best season: shuttler PV Sindhu
2013 saw World No.11 Sindhu became the first Indian female to win a singles medal at the World Championships and broke into the world top-10 for a brief period. She was also conferred with the Arjuna Award in September and won two Grand Prix Gold titles this year.
Pusarla Venkata Sindhu's meteoric rise has made up for a relatively poor show by India's star badminton player and Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal this season.
World No.6 Saina has almost completed the season without a single title while her fellow Hyderabadi Sindhu, World No.11, became the first Indian female to win a singles medal at the World Championships and broke into the world top-10 for a brief period.
Sindhu, who was conferred with the Arjuna Award in September, also won two Grand Prix Gold titles in 2013, the latest being the Macau Open she bagged Sunday.
For the 18-year-old, the season remains her "best till date".
"I believe this was the best season I have had till date. I won two titles to add to the World Championship bronze," Sindhu told IANS from Hyderabad.
Sindhu's first Grand Prix title came in May at the Malaysia Open. She followed it up with the World Championship bronze in August in Guangzhou, China, and finished the year on a high in Macau.
"I am very happy to have won the title, specially because I wanted to win a tournament before the year ended. It gives me a lot of confidence going in to next year. I would like to continue my form and win more laurels," said the Hyderabadi.
After her World Championship high, Sindhu went through a low. She couldn't progress beyond the second round in Japan, Denmark, France and Hong Kong, losing to shuttlers ranked below her.
"I took a break and missed the China Open. I prepared hard for Macau Open at the Gopichand Badminton Academy and the hard work finally paid off," she said.
Asked about her performance in Macau, Sindhu said: "Well, the competition was tough. Ranking does not indicate everything. The Chinese girl Jinjing Qin I faced in the semi-final gave me a tough fight. The quality of the game the Chinese have is also very good. It was overall a good tournament with tough competition."
Sindhu, who plays for Awadhe Warriors in the Indian Badminton League, starts 2014 with two Super Series tournaments in South Korea and Malaysia in January but her focus remains on the Asiad (Incheon) and the Commonwealth Games (Glasgow) later in the year.
"The Asian and the Commonwealth Games are also coming up and I would want to do well there too," Sindhu said.
The daughter of renowned volleyball players P.V. Ramana and P. Vijaya, Sindhu has no plans of vacationing at the moment and is focussed on the Senior National Championships to be held here Dec 16-23.
The rising shuttler won the 2011 edition but lost the 2012 final to Sayali Gokhale and is eager to win back the crown.
"I will play the nationals and give my best to win it. I will also be participating in women's doubles competition, partnering Aparna Balan," added Sindhu.