Long-time coach of PV Sindhu, who has been beside her in all the major finals that she has reached, Pullela Gopichand was all praise for the absolute dominance that the shuttler showed in the final on Sunday. He also revealed that the Olympics would be tough for Indian badminton this time.
With all the hype surrounding the Championships final, especially after what had happened 2017 between the two shuttlers, Sindhu was expected to come with her guard up and multiple strategies in mind. However, the way she demolished Nozomi Okuhara reflected that the Indian shuttler was playing without any baggage at all and Gopichand rightly praised his prodigy for the same.
“I think, for me, this victory is big. I think ‘World Champion’ is a big thing. To actually win it the way she has makes it even better. Doubly proud. It draws a lot of respect from people across the world and definitely for us as a country... we have seen bronze, we have seen silver and its great to see the gold,” said Gopichand, reported Scroll.
The coach also revealed that Sindhu had come to the match with no specific plans and was asked to go with the momentum. “Nothing specific or very different. I think, in a way, Sindhu had to come of age. She had to kind of forget about the losses, the negatives and then once she is in good control and comfortable with conditions, this was bound to happen,” explained Gopichand.
Sindhu had comfortable wins over Chinese Taipei’s Pai Yu Po and USA’s Beiwen Zhang in the opening two rounds before she had a stunning comeback against Tai Tzu Ying in the quarter-finals. And Gopichand stated that her confidence did the job for her in the rest of the matches.
“I think going into the final with the kind of matches and victories gives a lot of confidence. The thing to notice is also that the previous times she got to the finals, she had long hard matches. For this final, she was rested enough. She had a good break in between and that really helped.
And all added to the fact that Okuhara and Ratchanok played a long match. It actually helps because these are courts which are physically very draining and to go into a match with an easier win really helped,” Gopichand added.
Sindhu’s next biggest challenge and one that would triumph all would be the Tokyo Games next year and Gopichand has reasons to believe it won’t be easy like the previous year. “Last time we went to the Olympics as the underdog,” he said.
“Nobody really bothered about us so much so it was easier to prepare. The surprise element was there. But this time you are going to be the most marked person on the circuit and people are going to spend this year training to beat you knowing that you won the biggest tournament the year preceding to the Olympics.
“I think it’s going to be a tough year, a tough Tokyo Olympics and we need to put our head down and ensure that we work hard and plan even better,” he concluded.