1) Tell us about the roots of your interest?
Born in a family of Volleyball players, Sindhu says she got inspiration from her coach Pullela Gopichand win in 2001 All England Badminton Championship and chose Badminton over Volleyball.
2) At what age did you start training?
She started her training in Badminton at an early age of 8.She used to travel more than 50 kilometers everyday to get to her training centre in Hyderabad.
3) When did your life turning event occur?
There would be 3 stages in that case
- Sindhu stood out at international level during 2012 London Olympics where she stunned the world players by beating gold-medalist Li Xuerui.
- In 2014, she reached the semi-finals of Common Wealth Games in women’s single category.
- In 2015, Denmark Open, Sindhu reached to final of a Super Series event.
4) Was there any recent victory before Olympics?
Earlier this year, she won the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold women’s singles title.
5) What does her coach say about her ability ?
Proud coach Pullela Gopichand said that Sindhu is capable of doing better in terms of her defensive ability.She’s been inconsistent a few times and squandered leads but I think its part of her learning experience. She’s still young, and has age on her side. I think she’s a great fighter with great work ethic,Gopichand said about the 21-year- old Indian.
6) Tell us about your most memorable victory?
I was very happy to defeat Li Xuerui. She is the world No. 1 and the Olympic gold medallist, so it was a big day for me. I will always remember that match. (She gets very excited as she starts to recount the details of the match).
7) Talk us through the match against Li Xuerui:
First, I didn’t think I’d win because (she was an) Olympic gold medallist. The coaches told me – just go and play your game; you’ve got a chance to play against a senior player. Don’t get tensed, you’re a good player, play your 100%. When we started, I won the first game. It gave me a bit of confidence, but then I lost the 2nd game very easily. In the third game, you know, we were going level before I took the lead and won. Unbelievable! My coaches were very happy too.
8) Did you sense the possibility of victory as the match progressed?
I was not too overconfident because you know these senior players can pull it back. They can come back very quickly because they’re experienced players. So I didn’t think about the win. Just took it one point at a time. Even towards the end, I was 20 and she was 16. She rallied to 18 and I was praying in my mind for that one point. I got it and won the match, so I was very happy after that.
9) What was going through your mind through that second game? You lost eight points in a row during a stretch there.
Yeah, one side of the court was very fast, everything was going out. It was hard to control my strokes.
10) Why was that?
Because in every tournament there is a little drift or wind. We can’t complain because even the opponent has the same problem. You know it is because of the air conditioning flow from one side or the other. You just need to adapt to it and adjust the power behind your strokes.
11) Who’s had the biggest influence on you?
First and most important is Gopi sir. He teaches me very patiently. And then there are all the other coaches too. At any tournament, they come and share tips. 2-3 coaches come with us to the international events.
12) Talk to me about Gopi sir, how much of an influence is he, as a coach and as a person?
I’m very grateful to him. He tells me everything, even when I am making mistakes. He’s very patient too; I could make the same mistake 10, 11 or 20 times, but he speaks in the same tone and teaches me the right approach. Seriously, I’m very thankful, he’s a great coach, a champion – training under him is wonderful. Whenever we do practice, he encourages and suggests how you can improve. As a person, outside the court, he’s really nice and on court, he’s sincere and serious. Off court, he’s fun.
13) Finally How does it feel to be following in the footsteps of Saina Nehwal?
Saina is a very good player; I did wish that I could play like her when I was a junior. There are a lot of people who say say I’m the next Saina. I feel very happy about that, but you need to work hard to live up to these expectations. I would like to just do well as Sindhu.