P. V. Sindhu Curated

Indian Professional Badminton Player

CURATED BY :      +44 others

This profile is has been added by users(CURATED) : Users who follow P. V. Sindhu have come together to curate all possible video, text and audio interview to showcase P. V. Sindhu's journey, experiences, achievements, advice, opinion in one place to inspire upcoming badminton players. All content is sourced via different platforms and have been given due credit.

  • Do you have any heroes outside Badminton?

    No. But I do like Mahesh Babu and Prabhas in the movies.

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  • Who is your idol?

    Gopichand.

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  • Do you have a favourite city?

    Overseas, I like Switzerland. But I love Hyderabad mostly.

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  • You travel a lot. How do you like spending your spare time?

    I love talking to my sister. She is in the US doing her medicine. I also love going out to movies with family and friends.

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  • Do you miss being a normal teen?

    Not really. I love playing Badminton. It is more fun being on the court that anything else. I also get to travel a lot, which is fun. And then I have so many friends in the game too. But I am just very happy playing Badminton.

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  • Have you seen it work?

    No, I haven’t, only while watching tennis on television. I think it helps and could be beneficial. Every call matters and in those crucial moments in a match, it gives us an option.

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  • What do you think of line call review coming up?

    Yeah, it is a good option. Recently, Saina lost because of an umpiring decision. Bad luck for her. It is useful.

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  • After a match, any set routine to cool off?

    We do stretching, parts become stiff and our legs don’t move and they start paining. We get cramps, so we need to do proper stretching and relax ourselves. Sometimes our physio gives us a massage; it depends on the state of the body really.

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  • Anything over an hour is a long match, how do you recover?

    Our training at the academy is pretty good. Some of the players, when they play a long match, they just drop dead. We have enough strength and stamina to play long matches. Besides, each time we play a tournament, sir asks us how we played and why we lost. Honestly, when we play other country players, we’re the stronger ones. Some players get too tired – I still remember in Lucknow when I played against the Indonesian girl (Lindaweni Fanetri) – I lost against her and she was totally dead. I had enough stamina, that wasn’t a problem.

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  • Can you tell us about the physical training part?

    Sometimes we do weights; we do agility, shadows, running and core ab-works to strengthen the abdomen. It is important to have strength and endurance. Stamina is very crucial in badminton as there are too many rallies and long matches.

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  • Can you tell us about your practice routine?

    Our day at the academy starts at 4.30 in the morning – 04:30 hrs to 06: 0o hrs, then 07:00 hrs to 08:30 hrs. We have a midday session from 11:30 hrs to 12:30 hrs and one in the evening between 16:00 hrs and 17:30 hrs. We do multiple forms of training – playing opponents, on court drills, weights, endurance and running.

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  • You’re associated with the Olympic Gold Quest. How does the relationship work? What does the program bring to you?

    The OGC picks up promising players aspiring for an Olympic medal. They encourage the player by providing financial support for travel and tournaments. They also help by providing professionals such as Physios, Doctors and Psychologists etc. Their support gives us the freedom to choose and play more tournaments if required.

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  • Tell us a little bit about your management company, Universal Collectibilia?

    I signed with them recently, I’m very thankful and I hope that the relationship brings more success.

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  • Again, you’ve done very well in India. Does it feel different playing at home and how different is it from playing overseas?

    In India, the crowd support is really good. But outside India too, we have plenty of support. In Indonesia, they were supporting me. It depends, Indians support a lot and even outsiders support the Indian players.

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  • Going into the semis, you must have felt confident of winning. Were you lacking energy?

    She played really well (3rd seeded Ratchanok Intanon) and my strokes were constantly going out or sitting up in the middle. She finished the points quickly and I didn’t really get a chance. (Sindhu lost the semis 12-21, 6-21)

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  • You took out two Chinese players in a row at the Yonex Sunrise India Open 2013, how did you feel going into the semis?

    These two I have played last year, qualifying rounds and I lost easily. My second round opponent (Yu Sun) – I played her twice earlier; this was my third match against her. First time I lost, second time I won. Beating both the Chinese was good, especially after losing the first game. Even my first round opponent (Yao Xue), she’s a very good player. The last time we played, she took me out 9 or 10, now I could beat her. I’ve improved and I hope to improve more and more.

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  • Do you have a favourite tournament?

    I do not have any particular tournament. If I win, it is my favourite tournament. (chuckles)

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  • What would keep you happy at the end of the year?

    I am currently world No. 13 and will bag a few points for winning in Malaysia. My goal is to make the top 10 by the end of the year. For each tournament, I would like to reach the semi-finals or at least the quarters. I would like to play consistently well through the rest of the year.

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  • You’re done with your first Golden Grand Prix. At 17, it is a fantastic achievement. What are your immediate plans?

    Every year we have many tournaments. I have just played three tournaments and now we have the Sudirman Cup in 2 weeks’ time. And then we have Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore. The coaches decide which tournaments to play. Endurance and strength are also very important, so we need to manage the schedule to ensure we can play at our best at each event.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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).

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  • How much does the win in Malaysia mean to you?

    The last time I had a shot at a Grand Prix was at the Syed Modi India International at Lucknow last year. The final was on the day of my sister’s marriage. I could not attend the wedding as I stayed back for the match and then lost (to Indonesian Lindaweni Fanetri). It was an emotional day. So this victory comes as a great relief, everyone was very happy. My coaches, my family, everybody congratulated me.

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  • Sindhu, can you tell us about the influence of your first coach?

    My first coach was Mohammad Ali and I used to go to practice to a railways facility near my home. He passed away a few years ago. After playing there for a while, we shifted to Lal Bahadur Stadium. Eventually, I enrolled at the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy in Gachibowli. I have been learning there for more than five years now. I have picked up a lot of skills under the guidance of Gopi sir. There are several coaches there, including some Indonesians.

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  • So your parents used to drive you every morning to the academy?

    Yeah, I used to have my training at 5:30 am. There were many young kids of my age; it was a big group.

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  • Let us start with your time as a child. It was a long ride, getting to the practice courts, wasn’t it?

    Yeah, we used to stay in Secunderabad. It is 27 kilometers one way from my home to Gachibowli. Sometimes, we used to go up and down twice a day (108 km). So I would stay back and return home only late in the evening. We did that for like 2 ½ years when I was small. Later on I spent about a year and a half living at the academy. I used to return home for the weekends. A few years down the line my parents bought a home near the academy, so now it’s only 5 minutes away.

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  • What is your message for young badminton players?

    They should work hard. They should love what they do. They need to be focussed. They should give their best. As I said, sacrifices will be there. Ups and downs will be there and that is when you need to come back, show strong will and perhaps then you can achieve something.

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  • What are your tips for sportspersons so that they too win a medal in international championships or Olympic Games and bring laurels to the country?

    Everybody should work hard. You should love your sport. You need to love what you want to achieve. When you want to achieve something in your career, you should always do it with a lot of interest. You will have to make lot of sacrifices in life. Also, there will be ups and downs but you will have to believe in yourself... and hope that you can achieve something.

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  • You have got financial support from your parents. Another player Saina Nehwal too got support, including financial support, from her parents. But not all sportswomen especially those from small towns can afford or get such support. How will they make a place for themselves in sports?

    The government is coming forward to help sportswomen from small towns. It’s not that everybody is born rich. It is also true that everybody should need to work hard to create a place for themselves in their chosen games. Programmes like Khelo India are helping players to do well. At grassroots level it is compulsory to take part in some sport activity. That's why, few of them who could not afford, have performed well at certain level.

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  • Who would you give credit for your victory… parents or coach?

    The credit for my victory was not just my hard work but strong support of my parents and hard work of coach and others who supported me. My father has sacrificed.

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  • How critical is the support of any sports body for better performance of players in sports.?

    The Sports Authority of India and Badminton Association of India are encouraging youngsters to play Badminton. They motivate players to play tournaments. We are thankful to both SAI and BAI for the support.

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  • Cricket is the most popular sport in India and it is played almost everywhere. No other game has got support like cricket in India…

    I agree cricket was the most popular sport in India. Things have changed now. Players are doing well in other sports like Badminton, Wrestling and Shooting. Girls and boys are doing well in other sports as well. In 2016, wrestler Sakshi Malik had won bronze medal in Olympics. So it’s just not cricket, but every sport is actually doing equally good.

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  • Unlike in cricket, the attention of government and Badminton Authority of India is not so much on the sport. Do you think that more emphasis should be given to badminton and more facilities should be provided to young players, that infrastructure should also be increased?

    Efforts are being made by the government through various programmes like Khelo India to promote Badminton. At the grassroots level, efforts are being made to encourage students to join any sport of their choice. These efforts will help students decide if they want to make a career in sports. Promoting sports from the grassroots level is a very good idea.

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  • Your victory has brought laurels to India. Do you think, things for young badminton players would become better in the country?

    Yes, definitely things will change. India has got a recognition at the International level in Badminton. The resources are growing. At the same time, lots of youngsters are coming forward to take up badminton as sport. We are now getting support from various quarters including the government.

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  • Have the expectations of people become more?

    The expectations were always high because people would want you to get to the top all the time. You have to chase the target, work hard and give your best.

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  • What is your top priority?

    My immediate target is to do well in three to four tournaments in China and Korea as this is the qualifying year for the quadrennial extravaganza. Winning a medal in Olympics is top in the priority list.

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  • What’s your reaction to your historic win in the World Badminton championship? Were you confident of your victory in the final game as you outclassed Nozomi Okuhara of Japan?

    I played with confidence. I am very happy with the win. I had prepared myself for the game which I do for every game. Every match was very important for me from the very first match. I gave my 100 per cent. So, for me, each round was important. And I gave my best.

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  • How does it feel to play for Hyderabad, your home franchise?

    It feels really very good. For the first time I am playing for Hyderabad, it’s always been Chennai, Lucknow for the last years. We are going to have a lot of home crowd — the Hyderbad Hunters are always very supportive. Really looking forward to it.

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  • Favourite badminton memory from childhood

    Before when I started playing, just for fun, when my sister and her friends used to play, that’s when I used to go and say, please give me a chance. And they’d be like, ‘no, you go, you are a small kid!’ And now when we think about it, it’s always funny (laughs) when me and my sister talk about it now. Those days we used to say... and now look, it’s completely different.

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  • Who do you like better Federer or Nadal?

    I’d say both actually! Not one in particular...

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  • Non-badminton athletes that you admire the most and why?

    There are 2-3... [Roger] Federer. [Rafa] Nadal. Usain Bolt. They are definitely superheroes! Whatever they do, whichever sport they are a part of, they are doing a lot for their country and for themselves. It’s their dedication. They set out to achieve something in life and they did it.

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  • What’s your favourite TV show and why?

    Nothing in particular... just Netflix and chill!

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  • What would you be if not a badminton player?

    I’ve never thought a second thought. I started playing around the age of 8, 8 and a half. I started for fun and then I just continued. I never had a second thought — “well, maybe if I would have played tennis” or anything else. It was always badminton in my mind.

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  • How good are you at keeping a diet? Are you a foodie?

    Well yeah, I am a foodie. But when it comes to diet and I have to reduce my weight, I follow a strict diet because it is very important for me. And it is FOR me. I have to play, I have to keep myself fit. When it comes to junk, I will have all sorts of junk food.. ice creams, biriyani, pasta, pizza.

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  • How good was Sindhu at studies?

    I was good at studies, yes. After 10th I wasn’t regular, for sure, because I had to travel. When I was not a badminton player, when I had not become like so famous, I was very much interested in becoming a doctor! But I now feel, okay... badminton is much, much better.

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  • What would you tell 10-year-old Sindhus?

    I would say that... you have to keep working hard and hard work is the key to success. There is no excuse for it. And the most important thing is, they need to be dedicated and focussed. They need to have a goal to achieve. And one more thing, it’s the parents support. That’s the most important thing, for me my parents have been very supportive. They were always behind me.

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  • Which Superhero would you like to be?

    Wonder woman!

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  • What does Sindhu like about Sindhu and hate about Sindhu?

    Likes about me is... I am very jovial and friendly with everybody. Hates is... I am very sensitive and I get angry fast, so yeah...

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  • What is your advice to aspiring women sportspeople?

    It not just a year or two of hard work. Many years and plenty of sacrifices go into it. One also needs to understand if he/she has an aptitude to pursue professional sports. Parents should not assume that if they enrol their children in a certain academy, the kids will become champions. However, women are doing well now, not just in sports but in every field. My advice is to believe in yourself, face life headlong, and never be afraid of anything.

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  • Does the loss of privacy get to you?

    At times, it gets tough. But I enjoy it when people ask for photos and autographs. When I was young, I used to see other people enjoying the limelight, and wanted the same. I feel privileged when people tell me I inspire them. Millions cheer and support and pray for me; I’m truly blessed.

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  • What is PV Sindhu like at home?

    I’d like to think I’m friendly and jovial. I am not as aggressive as I am on court—I’m different. At home, I’m just a girl who loves spending time with her family.

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  • Who are your favourite players?

    I love Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, as well as Serena Williams who made a great comeback post her maternity break. Usain Bolt is another favourite. Among badminton players, Lin Dan is a legend!

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  • Are you nervous about the 2020 Tokyo Olympics?

    It’s not going to be easy! The Olympic qualifications are going on, and I hope I do well. My ultimate goal is a gold medal, and I’m working hard for it.

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  • Since you and Saina Nehwal are the two top-ranked badminton players in India, comparisons are drawn. What is your equation with her?

    We don’t train together and we have our own practice sessions, so I don’t get to see her often. When I do meet her, we are cordial.

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  • Which players do you consider your closest competition today?

    The top 10-15 players are at the same level. It’s who plays best on that day that matters.

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  • What are your fitness and diet goals?

    Fitness is very important, not only in badminton but in every sport. We play long matches so endurance is key as well. As far as diet goes, I ensure to eat a lot of protein. I steer clear of oily and fried food since any weight gain affects agility and movement on the court.

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  • What is a typical day in your life like?

    I start my day at 5.45 am, and am on the court from 6.30 am till 11.30 am. After that, I train at Suchitra Academy in Hyderabad, post which I take my lunch break. I play again from 4.30 pm to 6.30 pm. It’s early to bed and early to rise for me because I believe rest is important.

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  • How do you deal with social media trolls?

    Well, every public figure has to. When you win big tournaments, people put you on a pedestal, but when you lose, they are harsh, and troll you. I don’t take it to the heart or let it affect my psyche. When I step onto the court, I give my 100 per cent. People can say or write a lot of things, but one has to do what one feels is right, and rely on instinct.

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  • Is it tough to deal with sacrifices that come with being a professional sportsperson?

    If you want to achieve something, you need to put something else on the backburner. It is tough, but I don’t view it as a burden because badminton is my passion, and I enjoy what I’m doing.

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  • When did you realise you wanted to play badminton professionally? Was there a moment of epiphany or was it a gradual process?

    It happened gradually. When I started playing, no one thought I would get to this level. Then, I started winning tournaments at the state level and kept taking it a notch further. Soon after Li Xuerui won the gold medal at the London Olympics 2012, I won against her, and that’s when I realised I could aim higher.

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  • Your parents were sportspersons, and your father, in fact, is an Arjuna Awardee. Was that a key factor for you to pursue sports?

    Definitely! My father used to play volleyball, and introduced me to badminton at the age of eight-and-a-half. People wondered why I chose a different sport, but I was passionate about the game. I’m fortunate to have parents who understand what it’s like to be a sportsperson. They understand how it works, and guide me at various levels.

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  • Prior to the World Championship, there was a prolonged lull in your career in terms of winning tournaments. How do you cope with losses?

    There are ups and downs in everyone’s life. You can’t be on top all the time. When you lose, you learn a lot from your mistakes. Also, one cannot look at it as the end of the world. It’s not that I don’t believe in myself, but I have to accept that sometimes, I am on top of my game, and sometimes it is just not my day. But there’s always the next time.

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  • You’ve also made it to the Forbes list of world’s highest-paid female athletes this year, at the 13th place. How does it feel?

    I was thrilled when I heard about it. I’m listed alongside some of the world best sportswomen; it’s a huge honour.

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  • You’ve had a dream run from the Olympic silver medal in 2016 to now. You are the first Indian to win the World Championship. Please comment.

    For me, it’s not just over with one victory. When you keep winning, you want and need to win a lot more. That keeps me motivated. Every time I win, I don’t just settle. When I won the silver at Rio, people told me I’d achieved everything, but, for me, it was just the beginning. As for becoming a world champion, it is a wonderful feeling; it felt like I was on top of the world when I was on the podium, watching the Indian flag go up.

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  • How is it working with your new coach Park Tae Sang, whom you have known for a long time?

    He is giving some really important tips to me and I hope to get the results everyone expects of me soon

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  • What are your thoughts on the BWF Finals?

    The BWF Finals throw fresh challenges and I am prepared for them, thanks to more than two weeks of training which helped me fine-tune my game, pay attention to some of the mistakes and learn not to repeat them. I am much stronger mentally and physically now.

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  • Has life changed after being the world champion?

    Yes of course. Lot more than being an Olympics silver medallist. But, honestly, I am enjoying every bit of it even while balancing between being on the court and away from it.

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  • What is the biggest challenge?

    Every match in any tournament is important as there is little that separates the top eight or 10 in the world. So, the onus is on us to keep improving all the time.

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  • Do you have enough hand sanitisers and other related gear?

    In fact, when we went to the All England Championships a few days ago just when the dreaded coronavirus was fast spreading and there were even serious concerns about playing there, we were fully prepared, armed with all these things, for safety and health are obviously the first priority. We had a huge stock of sanitisers and wipes, which we used to even clean the seats even though we were few in the business class. So, in a way, it was a different kind of experience but which again helped us to protect ourselves from the virus. We didn’t experience any tough times on arrival in London or in Hyderabad. The usual medical tests were in place thanks to the efforts of the government, which again should be appreciated....

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  • How were the last few days for you in the wake of the coronavirus fast spreading across the world?

    I feel sad at what is happening around the world. These are extremely testing times for all of us. No doubt, it is very difficult to stay indoors, especially for athletes like me. But, again, there are certain things that are not in our hands but merit utmost caution in whatever we do. It is going to be tough, but we have to mentally prepared for the challenges ahead.

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  • What are you binge-watching at the moment?

    I prefer a good mix of sports movies and biographical movies. Athletes are too disciplined to binge Tarun Bhagat, Director-Marketing, Hydration and Cola, PepsiCo India adds, "Even during these challenging times, it's heartening to see that work hasn't stopped for us. We continue to deliver our best. However, while juggling the current Work-From-Home situation, our individual health has taken a backseat and through this video, we intend to encourage people to take out time, work out from home and give due importance to their personal fitness." Giving a new twist to its 'Nothing Beats Gatorade' philosophy, the video encourages people to not just Work-From-Home but also embrace the concept of Work-Out-From-Home as part of their daily routine. Through the video, P.V. Sindhu shares a message of motivation and shows how daily household items like carpets, bottles and stairs can become a part of one's daily 'Workout-From-Home' routine. The film showcases how 'life as we know it' has changed but not stopped, and features glimpses of people who have successfully turned their homes into workrooms and boardrooms. It then goes on to show how we can similarly take household items available to us at home and turn them into tools for working out.

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  • What are you indulging in during the lockdown, and what keeps you busy?

    Right now my indulgence has been my family. Because of my hectic training and tournament schedules, I never get much time to spend with them. Now I work out with them, eat with them and have fun with them. I am loving it.

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  • With the Indian Summer, it's important to stay hydrated, even if you're indoors and not sweating it out. Do you agree?

    Even when we aren't sweating a lot, we are continuously losing water. And since we are home, we tend to miss this part and forget to take in the liquids. I would urge everybody to stay at home, keep your Gatorade sipper by your side and stay hydrated. In times like these, nothing is as important as the basics.

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  • Even household chores can be made into fun exercise activities?

    I totally agree. Improvisation keeps any physical activity from getting boring and at home we have all the tools for excellent workouts. Use your tables, sofas, chairs, yoga mats, water bottles, why even the walls to burn some calories. Find a partner you love working out with, like how I have found a workout partner in my 17-month-old nephew.

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  • Even household chores can be made into fun exercise activities?

    I totally agree. Improvisation keeps any physical activity from getting boring and at home we have all the tools for excellent workouts. Use your tables, sofas, chairs, yoga mats, water bottles, why even the walls to burn some calories. Find a partner you love working out with, like how I have found a workout partner in my 17-month-old nephew.

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  • How important is physical fitness for mental well-being during this crisis?

    More important than it's ever been. Taking care of ourselves and investing time to focus on personal fitness is crucial, for both our physical and mental well-being. If fitness was a hobby, now it needs to become a habit. Taking out some time to workout from home while we are working from home, not only energizes you physically but also ensures higher productivity during the day. In fact the digital video highlights that just like work has not stopped in the current times, one's focus on fitness and exercise should not either. Gatorade and I are trying to showcase and motivate people on how daily household items like carpets, bottles and stairs can become a part of one's daily 'Workout-From-Home' routine, as long as we intend to take the time out to exercise.

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  • Like all other community events including music festivals and theatre, sporting events across the world have been cancelled or postponed; how will this affect athletes and professionals in terms of both training and performance?

    The world is in a state of flux. We need to believe that all this will be over soon; and be ready to get back to the game the day it is over. For us, our body and our fitness are everything. If we don't take care of it, our body can ditch us when we need it the most. So, even if nothing is moving, we should! Like everyone else is working from home, we athletes are working out from home.

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  • As a sportswoman it must be tough and heartbreaking to stay away from the court and be in lockdown?

    There's nothing more difficult for a sportsperson than being away from her sport, but these are unprecedented times and we need to act responsibly. We need to utilise the time at hand to focus on ourselves, our personal fitness and ensure a work-life balance.

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  • What are the sacrifices that you have made vis-a-vis food, education, social life, and family etc, to remain fighting fit and focussed on the game.

    I have finished my MBA from St Anne’s College, Hyderabad, this year. Studies are also important. At the same time, yes, sacrifices, too. I thank my parents and a lot of credit goes to them ­because they have sacrificed a lot of things. So far as I am concerned, when you want to achieve some goals, you will have to make sacrifices and you shouldn’t think about it.

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  • And how do you handle criticism? Do you get upset by criticism?

    I don’t really take criticism to the heart. I just let it go.

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  • How do you tackle on-court and off-court pressure? And do you feel you are now more comfortable in handling pressure than before?

    Yeah, definitely. Pressure and responsibility are always high. It’s just that I need to give my best rather than think about others. You should play well and win—and it’s good for everyone.

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  • Having won the 2016 Olympics silver, and the gold in Basel, do you feel more motivated for a top-of-the-podium finish at Tokyo Olympics?

    Definitely, yes, these medals will motivate me. Of course, the World Cham­pionships gold will particularly motivate me and will give a lot of confidence and I hope I do well in the upcoming matches.

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  • The big target is obviously the 2020 Tokyo Olympics next year. What are your plans?

    There is still time. For me, it’s step by step. Right now, I am focussing on China Open [Sept 17-22] and Korea Open [Sept 24-29]. I hope I do well in those tournaments.

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  • Kim Ji Hyun, in an interview just ­before the World Championships, said that Sindhu “needs to develop more skills...especially net skills and deception”. She also said that both she and you were working on these aspects, “step by step”. Do you agree that since the game of all top players is so much exposed, top players have to continuously change their game to be competitive?

    We’ve been working on the strokes and it will definitely take time. It’s working out well, but at the same time we need to improve a lot more new strokes and do a lot more new things because every time we go to a tournament everybody comes up with new things. It is important to keep learning new things all the time.

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  • How much has coach Kim Ji Hyun helped you?

    I’ve been training under her for a couple of months. She had made some changes [to my game] and we have worked out under the guidance of Gopi sir. She supports me; she motivates me. It’s good. She has been there for a couple of months now and I am really very happy about it.

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  • Explain the role of Gopichand in the overall development of your game so far, and particularly his inputs for the World Championships.

    I am very thankful to him because since I was an under-10 player, I have been training under him and improving step by step and here I am today. So, a coach’s role is definitely important.

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  • After the China Open, you had said that post-2016 Olympics bronze everyone asked you ‘what’s next?’ I now ask ‘what’s next’ for you as you have reached the badminton peak. How do you plan to remain at the top?

    Well, it’s tough. I need to work harder and the future tournaments will be a lot tougher. My next goal is Tokyo (2020 Olympics), but ­before that it is step by step for me. I hope I do well in the ­upcoming tournaments since there is also Olympic qualification [to be achieved].

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  • If the draw wasn’t changed, you were lined up to meet Okuhara in the semi-­finals and either Chen Yu Fei of China or Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand in the final.

    Yeah...(laughs).

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  • In a very unusual event, the women’s draw was redone after someone was added by mistake. Did that make any difference to you?

    Actually, I think, they shouldn’t have changed the draw. They said that somebody had to go out and it was changed. Anyway, we have to play with everybody, so it doesn’t make any difference. At the end of the day, when you come to the finals you have to beat everyone to get there.

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  • You now have a 9-7 record against Okuhara. In July, you had beaten her in the Indonesia Open quarterfinals. Did that victory give you a psychological advantage in Basel?

    Every time we play, it is a new game, I must say. I don’t think about other matches and just play each match like a fresh game. A little bit [of advantage was there], yes, but I really didn’t think about that match.

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  • You demolished Okuhara in just 38 minutes. Was it a strategy to not let her settle down?

    Yeaaah...every point was important, so I played the same way and I dominated from the start. I thought it wouldn’t be a long match, but then dominating every point and playing aggressively really worked out well. I think I am an aggressive player.

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  • Did you sleep comfortably the night before the final? Were you nervous before the final? You actually said you were ‘nervous’ after winning the final.

    I had a good sleep, and I was keen to give my best. I didn’t have any pressure. I mentioned the word ‘nervous’ because I was leading Nozomi so much and I was making a few silly mistakes, giving away easy points. I shouldn’t have made those silly mistakes and should have played my strokes.

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  • What all did you do to overcome the situation you were in? You had stopped using the mobile phone...

    Yeah, I was not using the mobile. But I was obviously using social media, to reply to a lot of people who were congratulating me. You obviously have to make sacrifices. I really prepared for this tournament and I really worked hard and that showed. I am very happy about it because after two bronze and two silver, I would say it was a much-awaited win. And at the same time, Kim [Ji Hyun, a renowned Korean coach with the Indian team] and [Pullela] Gopichand sir had a few things in their minds that we worked out and every­thing turned out well.

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  • Your third consecutive World Cham­pionships final would have been a bigger mental challenge as the pressure of losing two straight finals would have been at the back of your mind. How did you overcome your two opponents—Nozomi Okuhara and the pressure of avoiding a third consecutive defeat?

    Well, I never felt that [pressure] in my mind when I was playing the final. This time, I thought, I will give my best and play my [natural] game. Winning and losing is secondary. And I played the same way and won. I am very happy.

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  • What all have you stopped eating to remain fit?

    Of course, I avoid junk and oily food. Sometimes, it’s okay. Protein etc is very important. And I do eat rice as I have been eating it for a long time. But it all differs from person to person.

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  • Generally speaking, what are the sacrifices that you have made vis-a-vis food, education, social life, and family etc, to remain fighting fit and focussed on the game.

    I have finished my MBA from St Anne’s College, Hyderabad, this year. Studies are also important. At the same time, yes, sacrifices, too. I thank my parents also and a lot of credit goes to them because they have sacrificed a lot of things. So far I am concerned, when you want to achieve some goals, you will have to make sacrifices and you shouldn’t think about it.

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  • How do you handle criticism? Do you get upset by criticism?

    I don’t really take criticism to the heart. I just let it go.

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  • How do you tackle on-court and off-court pressure? And do you feel you are now more comfortable in handling pressure than before?

    Yeah, definitely. Pressure and responsibility are always high. It’s just that I need to give my best rather than thinking about others. You should play well and win – and it’s good for everyone.

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  • What are the lessons that you have learned from the 2019 World Championships?

    I have learned a lot of things and I am still learning. Learning is a process and you learn new things every day. So, I am not over with it. The World Championships may be over, but I will learn a lot of new things going forward.

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  • Having won the silver in Rio, and the gold in Basel, do you feel more motivated to put up an improved performance at the Olympics with a top-of-the-podium finish?

    Definitely, yes, these medals will motivate me. Of course, the World Championship gold will particularly motivate me and will give a lot of confidence and I hope I do well in the upcoming matches.

    View Source:

  • Having won the silver in Rio, and the gold in Basel, do you feel more motivated to put up an improved performance at the Olympics with a top-of-the-podium finish?

    Definitely, yes, these medals will motivate me. Of course, the World Championship gold will particularly motivate me and will give a lot of confidence and I hope I do well in the upcoming matches.

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  • Have you finalised your tournament schedule leading up to the Olympics?

    We need to discuss it between the coaches and me, and plan accordingly. Every tournament is very, very important for me.

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  • The big question is obviously the 2020 Tokyo Olympics next year. What are your plans for the Olympics?

    There is still time. For me, it’s step by step. Right now, I am focussing on China Open (Sept 17-22) and Korea Open (Sept 24-29). I hope I do well in those tournaments.

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  • Your first World Superseries Premier tournament title (China Open in Fuzhou) in November 2016 was another huge achievement of your career, besides the 2016 Olympics silver. How important was that in your career?

    It was the first time I had won (a Superseries Premier) and it gave me a lot of confidence and boost. Since then I have been improving and winning a lot more matches with that same confidence.

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  • Since she is a woman, you may be more comfortable talking to her as doubles up as a coach.

    Well, she supports me; she motivates me. It’s good. She has been there for a couple of months now and I am really very happy about it. We have been working on the strokes and it will definitely take time. It’s working out well, but at the same time we need to improve a lot more new strokes and a lot more new things because every time we go to a tournament everybody would come up with new things and learn new things. It is important to keep learning new things all the time.

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  • How do you assess the part played by renowned veteran Korean coach Kim Ji Hyun, who is with the Indian team for the last few months? How much has she helped you in improving your game?

    I have been training under her for a couple of months. She had made some changes (to my game) and we have worked out under the guidance of Gopi sir.

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  • Please explain the role played by Gopichand in the overall development of your game so far, and particularly his inputs for the 2019 World Championships?

    I am very thankful to him because since an under-10 player I have been training under him and improving step by step and here I am today. So, a coach’s role is definitely important.

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  • How much importance do you give to rankings and do you keep an eye on the rankings while competing?

    I think rankings don’t matter much. If you play well and give your best, the rankings will automatically improve.

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  • After the China Open, you had said that post your 2016 Olympics bronze everyone asked you ‘what’s next?’ I now ask ‘what’s next’ for you as you have reached the badminton peak. Reaching a peak is easier than staying there. How do you plan to remain at the top?

    Well, it’s tough. I need to work hard and the future tournaments will be a lot tougher. My next goal is Tokyo, but before that it is step-by-step for me. I hope I do well in the upcoming tournaments since there is also Olympic qualification (to be achieved).

    View Source:

  • You now have a 9-7 record against Okuhara. In July, you had beaten her in the Indonesia Open quarterfinals. Do you feel that victory gave you a psychological advantage against her in the World Championships final?

    Every time we play, it is a new game, I must say. I don’t think about other matches and just play each match like a fresh game. A little bit (of advantage was there), yes, but as I really didn’t think about that match and, as I said, every match is completely different from the other.

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  • If the draw wasn’t changed, you could have met Nozomi Okuhara in the semi-finals, and not in the final (and Chen Yu Fei of China or Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand in the final).

    Yes...(laughs).

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  • Something very unusual happened before the championships when the women’s draw was re-done after someone was by mistake added to the draw. Did that make any difference to you?

    Actually, I think, they shouldn’t have changed the draw. They said that somebody had to go out and it got changed. Anyway, we have to play with everybody, so it doesn’t make any difference. At the end of the day, when you come to the finals you have to beat everyone to get there.

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  • Coincidentally, the day of the final was also your mother’s birthday. Did that coincidence play as an additional motivating factor for you in the title match?

    Well, it was just that it was her birthday and I wanted to give her a present. And obviously she felt very happy about it. I mean it was nothing like an additional motivating factor for me. First thing, I never thought it would come on her birthday and I was just focussing on my match. I just wanted to give her a present by winning the match and I did it.

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  • You received huge support from the 9,000-odd fans at St. Jakobshalle, Basel. Was that of any help in the final? And, were you surprised at the support you received?

    Well, it was good that they supported me. It was a kind of encouragement and support from them. I took it in a very positive way and it was really good as well. There were Indians in the crowd and they were actually supporting from the first day, and in the final, it was probably more.

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  • You demolished Okuhara in just 38 minutes, without giving her a semblance of a chance. Was it part of your strategy to be aggressive from the beginning and not let her settle down at all?

    Yes, every point was important, so I played the same way and I was dominating from the start. I thought, obviously, it wouldn’t be a long match, but then dominating every point and playing aggressively really worked out well. I think I am an aggressive player.

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  • Did you sleep comfortably the night before the final? Were you nervous before the final? You actually said you were ‘nervous’ after winning the final.

    I had a good sleep, and I was keen to give my best. I didn’t have any pressure. I mentioned the word ‘nervous’ because I was leading Nozomi so much and I was making a few silly mistakes, giving away easy points. I shouldn’t have made those silly mistakes and should have played my strokes.

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  • How did you prepare especially after you came to know who your opponent (Nozomi Okuhara) was in the final?

    We know each other’s game, so it’s not like we didn’t know. There was no particular strategy at that point in time. It was just that I had to be just focussed.

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  • What were the precautions and steps that you took to stay focused on the championships?

    Well, each match was important for me and every point too. Obviously, I did a lot of preparations, like practicing and changing a few things in my game.

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  • What all did you do to overcome the situation you were in, which is playing a third consecutive World Championship final? You had stopped using your mobile phone.

    Yes, I was not using the mobile. But I was obviously using social media, to reply to a lot of people who were congratulating me. You obviously have to make sacrifices. I really prepared for this tournament and I really worked hard and that showed. I am very happy about it because after two bronze and two silver, I would say it was a much-awaited win. And at the same time, Kim (Ji Hyun, a renowned Korean coach attached with the Indian team) and Gopi (Chand) sir had a few things in their minds that we worked out and everything turned on well.

    View Source:

  • Your third consecutive World Championships final would have been a bigger mental challenge for you as the pressure of having lost two straight finals would have been at the back of your mind. How did you overcome these two ‘opponents’ — Nozomi Okuhara of Japan and the pressure of avoiding a third consecutive defeat in the final – at the same time?

    Well, I never felt that [pressure] in my mind when I was playing the final. This time, I thought, I will give my best and play my [natural] game. Winning and losing is secondary. And I played the same way and won. I am very happy.

    View Source: