I have evolved as player over the years, reveals Ashwini Ponnappa

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I have evolved as player over the years, reveals Ashwini Ponnappa

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SportsCafe Desk

11/01/2018

Indian shuttler Ashwini Ponnappa has said that starting as a player who focused more on playing rather than thinking about the game or her opponents, she has now evolved into a player who thinks the game out. Ponnappa is currently ranked 26th in the BWF women’s doubles rankings.

In recent years Ashwini Ponnappa has donned the role of a senior partner and a guide to her junior partners but she shies away from being called a leader and thinks of herself as someone who has a lot to say. In recent tournaments like the Denmark Open and the Asian Games she was seen advising her junior partners - N. Sikki Reddy in women’s doubles and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and at many crucial junctures of the match. 

“Over the years, I have just evolved as a player from someone who used to just hit and hit, to someone who just really loves to watch my opponents, see things and figure out how we can get better as a pair. That’s something I am relishing. I really love using my head, I’d say.”

Ashwini Ponnappa is the most experienced double’s circuit badminton player in the country. Particularly after the retirement of Jwala Gutta there are very few players who have as much international exposure as Ponnappa possess. The experience also comes handy guiding her on-court partners under pressure situations.

“I don’t see it as a leadership role. It’s just a partnership where I have a lot to say (and) my partners have been kind enough to let me voice my opinion and accept it."

Her doubles partner N.Sikki Reddy also says that the senior pro experience indeed comes in handy and lets the junior players just play the game freely without thinking much.

“She reads the game very well. Being a very experienced player, her guidance is good for us because it makes it easier for us to play. We don’t need to think too much. Just go for what she says,” Sikki said.

Though Ponnappa aims for the Olympics 2020, on what would she would do once she hangs up her boots she says that maybe she would love to coach as she likes thinking and analysing the game and get the best possible results.

“I don’t know, maybe, because I really enjoy thinking and analysing. I do love figuring things out – what’s good for us, what sort of drills would help us get better, what kind of rotation we could work on… those are things that of late my mind really thinks about. I love watching and learning, so maybe, yeah. I would love to [coach], I guess.”

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