Badminton in India is on a rise. In the past eight years, Indian players have proved to the World that China is no more the only country to dominate the game. The likes of Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, HS Prannoy etc., have taken the sport to a point where India does not play to compete anymore but plays to win. Now, According to Kidambi Srikanth, Indian badminton is entering a golden era with an army of new stars aiming for Commonwealth Games and Asian Games success this year.
Srikanth is currently ranked third in the world while with HS Prannoy is at 11th position and Sai Praneeth at 14th. This makes India only the second country to have more than 2 men in the top 15 world rankings along with traditional powerhouse China. For the women, PV Sindhu is ranked four and Saina Nehwal 11 and they are both Olympic medal winners.
"We have five or six very good men's singles players and with Saina and Sindhu doing extremely well and doubles players adding to it, it is a very good pool we have," Srikanth told AFP in an interview in New Delhi. "Probably we have the best set of players in the last 10 years or so," he said.
Srikanth was introduced to badminton by his elder brother K Nandagopal. Speaking to AFP, the25-year-old said that the primary focus is on the Commonwealth Games in Australia in April and the Asian Games in Indonesia in August.
"Obviously winning the Olympic medal is my biggest dream. But I really don't want to think too much about 2020 right now. It's more about the next couple of months and next couple of tournaments that I am playing. It's really important for us to be consistent with events and those big medals," said Srikanth.
Talking about his rivalry with top-seeded Viktor Axelsen of Denmark and about his view on reaching World No. 1 someday, Srikanth said, "Viktor is someone who uses his height very well. For me, it's about being aggressive and playing long matches. Maybe I will think about the rankings after I retire," Srikanth added.