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"Our shot placement, speed makes us a great pairing": Sathiyan on teaming up with Manika Batra

Updated on: 14 July,2023 10:42 AM IST  |  Pune

Sathiyan said that he and Manika are going to a lot of camps together as a team and will play more tournaments

Manika Batra. Pic/AFP

Indian paddler Sathiyan Gnanasekaran on Thursday said that his mixed doubles partner Manika Batra and he understand each other's game really well and shot placement is her strength, which combined with speed makes them a strong pairing. 

The stage is set for the high-voltage table tennis action as the Ultimate Table Tennis Season 4, begins on Thursday at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Mahalunge-Balewadi in Pune. A total of 36 players, including 12 international players, will engage in thrilling action over a period of 18 days in the IndianOil Ultimate Table Tennis Season 4. Among them, 14 paddlers have played in the Olympics, while nine players have showcased their strengths in the Commonwealth Games. Defending champions Chennai Lions will begin their title defence against Puneri Paltan Table Tennis in the opening fixture of Season 4, which will go on till July 30. Chennai Lions' challenge will be spearheaded by ace Indian paddler Achanta Sharath Kamal. Manika will be playing for Bengaluru Smashers while Sathiyan will be representing Dabang Delhi. 

"There is no secret to our pairing. Manika and me understand each other's game really well. It really matches the way we read opponents' game. If you see her game then you will see her placement of shots is really good and that is her strong point. When we play together we become a really strong pair. We do very good placing of shots and we are really fast on the table. When these two minds are together then we do a lot of things well," Sathiyan told ANI. 

"Our speed really works for us but still we have to improve in a lot of places. Even though we never thought that we will complement each others' game really well but when we started playing with each other we realized that we should take it forward," he added. 

Sathiyan said that he and Manika are going to a lot of camps together as a team and will play more tournaments. 

"We have come up with some exceptional performances as a pair. Both me and Manika are surprised and this gives us a lot of happiness also. We have started to focus a lot on it and we are having a lot of camps also in order to see where we can improve as pairs and you can see in UTT also. This will help us to find out where we have to improve also. We will play more tournaments also and for that, we are practicing as well. Till Olympics 2024, we are going to improve more. Like everyone, we are also expecting to give our best and hope we create history for the country and win a medal in the Olympics," he said. 

Sathiyan said that UTT is a great opportunity for him and Malika to play some of the best talent worldwide. 

"We are playing mixed doubles also in intense pressure. Not only matches but training also is very good here. So, I think this is a good test for Asian Games. How we are going to play and what kind of shape we are in. This confidence will be very beneficial for us in Asian Games," he said. 

The paddler said that he is excited about Ultimate Table Tennis. 

"Very excited as UTT is back after three years. This is my fourth consecutive season for Dabang Delhi. Happy to play for the same team in UTT. So, this time we will just give our best. Therefore, we want to win title like we did in 2018," he said.

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