If you foraged around for the last time PV Sindhu didn’t show up in the finals of a major badminton championship over the last two seasons – the search would end at last year’s All England. Breathlessly consistent and bogglingly competent in making it to the Sunday summits of every big tournament, Sindhu has turned up at Olympics, two World Championships, two Super Series Finals, Commonwealth and Asian Games championship deciders since her 2016 stomp on the highest stage.
Through her sheer relentlessness, Sindhu has stamped her presence wherever they’ve sounded the badminton bugle across the world. Coach Gopichand and Sindhu herself have vocally sounded out their intention to target the Big All E this time around, even as the wait for an Indian winner enters its 18th year.
Both of India’s previous winners believe 2019 could see the stars align once again – based on Sindhu’s run-up to Birmingham. Prakash Padukone who won in 1980 reckons the lead-up to this year has a whiff of Sindhu’s preparations similar to other big meets where she could devote a large chunk of time to uninterrupted training. “I’m looking forward to seeing her play at the All England this year. She’s had a fairly long break – training without playing a tournament. Whenever she’s done that – a good 3-4 weeks of training, she’s done well, be it the Olympics or Worlds. It’s a fairly long training period and she builds up well,” he said adding that she must feel very confident.
Coach Gopichand, in a rare non-demure lead-up since December, has voiced his intent of pushing his ward to stake claim to the title he last won in 2001. “Sindhu had some good preparation, and the courts at All England are good courts for Sindhu so I hope we have a good tournament this time,” he said.
Elaborating on the 23-year-old’s ability to raise her game befitting big occasions, the coach added that the courts at King Edward’s Road are playing true, which ought to suit Sindhu’s rangy, booming game. “In big tournaments, in conditions which are true she obviously has had a good record. And it’s to do with her strength and power as well. Her game is suited to big conditions. And at All England those conditions are true so I do expect her to do well,” he added. Courts playing true would indicate minimal hindrance of the A/C draughts which brings forth Sindhu’s unrestrained big game – that’s courts that are not treacherous to play on, not too fast neither slow.
As upbeat as she would be and aspiring to go deep into the week, rarely has Sindhu encountered a first-round opponent as accomplished as Korean Sung Ji Hyun who she runs into straight away. She leads the elegant, rally player 8-6, having traded wins equally since the last Olympics, including a loss the last time they met at Hong Kong. But the November scoreline of 26-24, 22-20 points to some early excitement for India’s biggest name, seeded 5 here, who will be ready for a tight fight to start off at Arena Birmingham…Read More>>