PV Sindhu's odd defeats can't be termed as failures, claims Gopichand

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PV Sindhu's odd defeats can't be termed as failures, claims Gopichand

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SportsCafe Desk


Pullela Gopichand has defended PV Sindhu’s critics, who have questioned the Indian for losing three major finals last season, saying that her odd losses can’t be termed as “her failures”. Sindhu had lost the finals at the World Championships, Hong Kong Open, and the World Finals in Dubai.

Sindhu, who had a stellar 2017 winning 40 of the 52 matches, won the India Open Superseries title by defeating the Olympic gold medalist Carolina Marin in straight sets before overcoming the challenge of Nozomi Okuhara in the final of the Korea Open. However, that was all the major success she had last year as she ended up on the losing side of the World Championship, Hong Kong Open, and Dubai Superseries finals. Many critics questioned the losses with some claiming that she wasn’t a big match player after her losses to players who were seeded above her.

World No 1 Tai Tzu is playing well but Sindhu beat her at the Olympics, when it mattered

Gopichand, on Sindhu's "apparent" struggles against top players

“I am not too bothered about a loss if the progression is happening. We are talking about very high-level players here, world number 1s and 3s. It is not like we have been producing world No 1s forever in our country," Gopichand said, coming to the defence of the player, reported PTI.

Tai Tzu Ying is widely regarded as the best women’s badminton player of the era and it is only against her that Sindhu has a very lopsided record (3-8), but it was the Indian who emerged successful when the duo met at the Rio Olympics and in the recently concluded Pro Badminton League. Apart from Tai Tzu, Sindhu holds a competitive record against most of her contemporaries - Sung Ji-Hyun (7-4), Akane Yamaguchi (5-2), Nozomi Okuhara (4-5), and Carolina Marin (4-6). 

"World No 1 Tai Tzu is playing well but Sindhu beat her at the Olympics, when it mattered. She also reached the world championship finals. Yes, some may argue that second is not good enough but I am more positive. I am happy with her result. I cannot think of it as a failure even by 1 percent," Gopichand added.

Apart from coaching Sindhu, Gopichand is also the coach of the Indian badminton team which means that he has to spread his time out to help out star players like Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth, and HS Prannoy. However, the 44-year-old said that he had no problems in managing the workload of all the players and getting them ready for a stressful and challenging season ahead.

"The two major events, which are coming up are the CWG in Gold Coast and the Asian Games in Jakarta. We also have the World Championship and the All England. I know the number of tournaments will be a lot. For me, it is important the players keep working and do well in the big events," he explained.

Gopichand, who has always maintained the stance that India do not lack good infrastructure in badminton but rather good coaches, repeated the same stating that to coach players that can reach the very top of the sport, a country would require coaches of the same calibre as well. 

"What we are talking about is bigger numbers? When these players were younger, I used to spend a lot of time with them. We need coaches of that calibre, who have not only played at the highest level but also think at that level. We don't have coaches but I have been saying it for last 10 years, right," the Indian coach quipped.

While Indian players have been excelling in the singles events, the doubles teams have been struggling for a while now. However, things appear to be bright in the future after the Indian mixed doubles pair of Sikki Reddy and Pranaav Chopra reached a semis of Japan Open 

"You can see some sparks, one Japan Open semi-finals but they are not consistent enough but it will come. A lot of positive but a lot needs to be done,” said Gopichand remarked.

"We need more numbers. We need players to take doubles as a career option, we need parents to support their kids, a little sponsorship, a little media coverage. We have Satwik and Chirag but they are just 18, it will take some time for them to gel."

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