Olympic gold medallist Carolina Marin has revealed that she and PV Sindhu, who she downed in the final, have always been good friends off the court. She has also spoken about the difficulty in coming from a country where badminton is not a big sport and the sacrifices she made to become World No.1.
Carolina Marin became the first-ever European to reach the World No.1 rank in the women's singles badminton while also becoming the first European shuttler to win a gold medal at the Rio Olympics.
Despite beating India's PV Sindhu in the finals of the Rio Olympics and in the opening match of PBL 2017, Marin thinks that the Indian ace is her toughest opponent currently.
“Maybe Sindhu, because she is improving a lot, but you also have the Chinese players. They have always dominated and they always have a few good players,” she said in an exclusive interview to ToI.
But, off the field, she shares a friendly relationship with Sindhu.
Marin spoke about the arduous training she had gone through in a bid to prepare for the Olympics.
“The preparation for about two months before the Olympic Games was really crazy. I cried almost every day after training because it was really hard on my body. I can tell you that my coach said before or after the Olympics (I can't remember) that he wouldn't want this kind of training for his daughter or son. But when you really want something, you go out there and forget the pain. When I won the final against Sindhu, I jumped and cried. I remembered how hard I had worked for it, the sacrifices... I can do anything to achieve what I really want,” she told TOI.
The Spaniard also explained how difficult it was for her to take up badminton in a country which is dominated by tennis and football.
“I started playing badminton when I was eight years old. I was also learning flamenco (a popular dance form) then. I went to a badminton hall one day with a friend and I really liked what I saw. It was a bit of a strange sport in my country because we are used to watching tennis. I liked hitting the shuttle.
When I was 12, I had to choose between flamenco and badminton. It was difficult because I had to also decide whether to seriously continue with my studies. When I turned 13, I went to national under-15 championships. My coach Fernando Rivas saw something in me there. He asked the federation officials to speak to my parents to
Marin also revealed her happiness in playing for PBL side Hyderabad Hunters, who picked her up as this edition's costliest player at a price of 61.5 Lakhs.
“I am happy being part of the Hyderabad Hunters team. We have a very good fighting spirit. Playing in a league is different from playing for
She also wishes former World No.1 Saina Nehwal makes a strong comeback in the next few months after recovering from a chronic knee injury.
“She's a really good and tough player. She has very good strokes. I think Saina can still get some good results. I think the top-10 in the world are all at the same level,” Marin said.
The 23-year old also revealed her admiration for tennis great Rafael Nadal, whom she considers as her role model.
“I don't have a badminton icon. I know this will surprise you. My sporting icon is Rafael Nadal. We have the same character and personality when we are on
Marin also said that the constant shouting is a part of her game and cited the example of Nadal's constant grunting while he is on the tennis court.
“Screaming comes naturally to me. This is how I am, this is my character. This is how I feel confident about myself. Rafa is my idol and he too screams when he is playing. He does not scream so much now. Maybe some opponents are not comfortable about my screaming, but this is not my problem. This is their problem,” she explained.