PVV Sindhu is going through one of the best phases of her life. The lanky Hyderabadi shuttler was the toast of her PBL team—the Chennai Smashers as she became the only woman in the PBL to remain undefeated in the two week extravaganza. Despite Chennai’s loss to Delhi in the semi-finals, the focus was on Sindhu’s brilliance throughout the tournament. Sindhu’s show was even better than Saina Nehwal, her more illustrious compatriot and world No.2 who lost a crucial tie in the semi-final.
For Sindhu who was sidelined with a major injury for the major part of 2015, her late comeback augurs well especially when one takes into account that the Rio Olympics are just around the corner. And winning a medal at the Rio Olympics remains one of her most cherished dreams.
Speaking to The Sunday Guardian, Sindhu said her sterling show in the PBL this year was a matter of confidence. “I attribute my success to getting my confidence back. After being sidelined for about six months, I made a strong comeback when I beat Olympic champion Li Xuerui (World Championships) and also made it to the final of the French Super Series before winning the Macau Open for the third successive time.
Sindhu also felt that the feeling of "winning" tough matches against top players is a mantra for success. “At the highest level, there is not much difference between the players. What matters is one’s mental strength. If I were to elaborate on this, I would say that if a player is able to win closely fought matches against higher ranked opponents then it acts like a tonic. I think the fact that I managed to win some tough matches did a world of good for my confidence,” said Sindhu.
Last year was a very tough one for me. I got injured before the All England championships and was out of the circuit for nearly six months.. Those six months were easily the one of the hardest phases of my playing career,” said Sindhu.
When asked why she regarded that phase so tough, Sindhu said it the post recuperation stage that was the toughest. ‘ Being an active sports-person, the fact that I had to spend so much time resting was something that I could fail to come to terms with. At this juncture, it was the role played by my parents that helped me combat my apprehensions,” she said
When queried whether she was disappointed that the eagerly awaited showdown with Saina did not materialise in this edition of PBL, she said she had looked forward for that clash. “Yes I was looking forward for that clash (against Saina). I had played her in the previous edition of the tournament but frankly I was a bit disappointed that I could not get to play her this time around,” said Sindhu.
A two time World Championships bronze medal winner, Sindhu is now aiming for an Olympic medal. “I have the Olympic medal in my sight. For me the Olympics is just about the biggest event in the world. From my playing days I was in awe of the Olympics. I want to desperately add an Olympic medal to my collection. I am working very hard for relishing this dream of mine,” she said.
Keen fare on the cards
Following two weeks of top quality action, the Premier Badminton League (PBL) has reached its last day which will see the Delhi Acers take on the Mumbai Rockets in the final at the Siri Fort Sports Complex on Sunday.
Both the teams do not have top stars like the Saina Nehwals and Lee Chong Weis but what worked in their favour is that they have well balanced sides.
Acers have had a tremendous comeback from their losses in the opening two matches of the six-side tournament. They fought back well to not just win three consecutive league ties and also the semi-final but are also the only team to win five points from a tie, a feat they achieved twice.
The other finalist, the Rockets have had a topsy-turvy series -- winning three and losing two ties in the league phase before coming out victorious 3-0 against the Saina Nehwal-led Awadhe Warriors in the second semi-final on Friday night.
The one and only time the two outfits faced each other was on Wednesday in Bengaluru when Acers thrashed the Rockets 5-0 to cement their place atop the points table of the league.
The Mumbai-based team came out of that disastrous loss with a strong performance against Warriors in the semi-final to gain some confidence ahead of the all important clash.
Looking at the bench strength, Acers excel when it comes to their men's singles department. In the entire tournament, Acers lost only one match in the category in 12 outings. The trio of Indonesian Tommy Sugiarto, England's Rajiv Ouseph and India's Ajay Jayaram have taken the burden of winning two to three points in almost every clash.
Sugiarto is the only player in the entire tournament to have played and won all his five outings. Plus, they have also not lost even a single Trump Match which has been crucial to their success. On the other hand, players like Vladimir Ivanov and Mathias Boe have been the heroes for the Rockets. The Rockets did well apart from their embarrassing loss to Acers.