Adapting to the conditions in Rio and changing her on-court strategy in match situations will be the key to success, according to ace Indian shuttler PV Sindhu.
“Adapting to conditions is important. The conditions need to be suitable for us, so we are leaving early. There will be drift and we will be practising for a week so we will be used to the court,” Sindhu, who is aiming to add an Olympic medal to the two World Championship bronze medals she won in 2013 and 2014, said.
Asked about the competition in women’s singles, the 21-year-old from Hyderabad said: “There is no particular person who is a favourite. Anybody can beat anyone and it is all about giving your best on that day.
“I have beaten all of them in the past and it gives me confidence. It gets tougher and tougher as we play them again because they know our strokes and we know their game, so it is all about changing the strategy on the court. That would be the key,” she said.
The three-time Macau Open winner will be participating in her maiden Olympics. Talking about the importance of experience in a big event such as the Olympics, Sindhu said: “Experience is important but then how you play on the given day also matters. Sometimes even the experienced players make mistakes. Experience matters but luck also plays a part.
“This season, I played so many tournaments as it was a crucial year. Sometimes I was playing well and sometimes not. I learnt from my mistakes. I played against all of them, all the top players. Everybody has a different style of play and it was a good learning experience. I think it will help at the Olympics.”
From watching Saina Nehwal win a bronze at the 2012 London Olympics to joining her compatriot in carrying India’s medal hopes at Rio, Sindhu has come a long way.
Asked if she feels the pressure, Sindhu said: “Pressure is always there. But we should not get bogged down by that. It is part of an athlete’s life. I am really excited to play at the Olympics.”
Sindhu has been drawn with Commonwealth Games champion Michelle Li of Canada and Hungary’s Laura Sarosi in Group M. If she gets out of the league stage, the Indian will have to overcome Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei and China’s Yihan Wang just to make it to the semis.
“It is not an easy draw. It is going to be tough from the first round itself. I’ve Li Michelle and another girl in my group. After the league, I think I will play Tai Tzu Ying. So it is [all about taking it] one by one for me,” Sindhu explained.
Talking about Ying, Sindhu said: “She is a difficult opponent, her game is very different from the others and she has good strokes. But she is not unbeatable. If I am ready for it I can beat her.”
Sindhu said from now on, the training and preparation will be specific to the players that she will be facing in the mega event.
“We will train accordingly. My coach will decide. We will analyse the videos of the players and the training will be player’s specific. It is going to be an important two weeks,” she admitted.