Pullela Gopichand points Kidambi Srikanth’s ability to adapt to conditions as his greatest quality

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Pullela Gopichand points Kidambi Srikanth’s ability to adapt to conditions as his greatest quality

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SportsCafe Desk

01/16/2018

Pullela Gopichand has called Kidambi Srikanth as one of the best players in the world and stating the latter's ability to adapt to different conditions is his greatest quality. Srikanth also praised his coach’s contribution by stating that Indian badminton would not have come this far without him.

2017 was a landmark year for Indian badminton as the players raised the bar to a whole new level especially Srikanth. The Guntur boy performed brilliantly throughout the year winning Indonesia Open, Australian Open, Denmark Open, and French Open and that helped him rise as high as the second rank in the world. He could have even launched a serious challenge to be the World No. 1 but, unfortunately, he failed to do so after picking up an injury during the National Championships.

His performance earned the praise of arguablly the greatest men's singles player of all time, Lin Dan, who termed Srikanth as the complete player now. Gopichand agreed with the statement and praised India’s latest badminton sensation.

“I think it's great to have someone of the caliber of Lin Dan comment the way he did, so it just goes to show the immense capability and strengths that Srikanth has in his all-round game. It's definitely true, what Lin Dan has said. I've seen very few players with the kind of quality he has. On a fast court and in windy conditions, I think he's one of the best players in the world. He needs to develop an all-round game in conditions which are slower and he has to adapt to a more strength and fitness-oriented rally. The greatest quality which I see in him is his ability to adapt to the conditions. It will take time to have a complete game which will produce results in all conditions in the world, but at his age, he definitely has the best prospects,” Gopichand told TOI.

The recently concluded Premier Badminton League gave Indian players a platform to play with and against great international players like Viktor Axelsen, Tai Tzu Ying, and Carolina Marin among others. The national badminton coach has now set new targets for the 2018 and picked four major tournaments where he wants the Indian shuttlers to give their best. 

“It's very important for me that India does well in the four important tournaments of the year, which for me are the All-England Championship, Commonwealth Games, World Championships and the Asian Games. At the end of the day, these are tournaments were performances really matter. I believe that what we've seen in 2017 is that Srikanth is capable of fantastic results. What we need to do at is ensure that at the big events, he does just that,” Gopichand added.

Gopichand expressed his disappointment over the current system as he claimed that only a bunch of the players are competing on the higher level but they failed to develop a long-lasting procedure which can be helpful in engaging a young crop of players to the game.

“I think the great part of the last few years has been the success we've got. The unfortunate part in the last few years is the fact that we've not really been able to build a system. High performance, grooming players, long-term vision, systematic development of an ecosystem for sport is something which we unfortunately haven't developed. There's a lot more work that has to be done. More importantly, we need a lot more maturity and understanding of the problem and solving it. We as a nation need to start looking at it to get sustainable results,” he stated.

In the recent past, Indian shuttlers have managed to perform on the big platforms by going neck-to-neck with the foreign players. Nobody can question Gopichand's role in the development of Indian badmintom. 

“He's the best I have trained under, for sure. He's been important for Indian badminton because if he had not started coaching, I don't think Indian badminton would have come this far. All the credit goes to him, and he's the most important person in Indian badminton,” Srikanth said.

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