It's been a tough year for our shuttlers: Pullela Gopichand
World No. 2 Sindhu, finished second best at the CWG, Asian Games and World Championships this yearr
In 2017, India's top shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and PV Sindhu won four and two Super Series titles respectively. However, this year, other than Saina Nehwal's gold and the Indian team's title-winning feat at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April, there have been no other first-place finishes from an Indian shuttler at a premier competition.
Chief coach Pullela Gopichand puts it down to lack of time for training given the busy 2018 calendar. "Overall, it's been a tough year for us," was Gopichand's reply when mid-day asked him to analyse Indian badminton's performance this year.
"We hardly had any time for preparation. We had the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and World Championships — the big events. And whatever time we had [in between] was not enough to really work end-to-end on mistakes," Gopichand said on the sidelines of the launch of Mumbai Games, the world's first-ever city-level franchise-based multi-sport, multi-age sports extravaganza.
When asked, which are the areas that need to be looked into, the former All-England champion replied: "Every area needs work. If you look at the way Srikanth has played, he has lost to a couple of players quite frequently, whether it is [Kento] Momota [of Japan] or Chou Tien Chen [of Chinese Taipe].
"There have been a few losses there which have been consistent, but if you have to win the big ones, you have to beat these players and prepare for them accordingly." Srikanth, currently ranked ninth in the world, made it to the semi-finals of Malaysia and Denmark Open in June and October respectively. World No. 2 Sindhu, finished second best at the CWG, Asian Games and World Championships this year.
World Cup 2019: Gautam Gambhir upset over Ambati Rayudu's Omission