B Sai Praneeth struggling for confidence after poor show at Sudirman Cup

The Olympic shuttler will lead India's charge at the Thomas Cup, starting October 9 in Denmark

By Olympic Channel Writer

Following his group stage exit at Tokyo 2020, B Sai Praneeth failed to return to form at the Sudirman Cup 2021. He was outclassed by China's Shi Yuqi in straight games in his only singles match appearance. India had, eventually, lost 0-5 to China in the group stage and failed to progress to the quarterfinals.

Praneeth, however, is aiming to get a few wins under his belt at the Thomas Cup and Uber Cup Finals, slated to get underway from October 9 in Denmark, to regain confidence.

"I am training well but I really don't know what is happening on court. I just need a couple of wins to get that confidence back ahead of the important events," Praneeth told Indian news agency PTI.

"India has a strong team for the Thomas Cup. Earlier, we used to depend on three singles for a win. It was tough to make it if we lost one but we have a good doubles team now, so till the quarterfinals it looks good."

B Sai Praneeth is desperate for a win
Picture by Getty Images

Sai Praneeth lost both his group stage matches at Tokyo 2020 on his Olympic debut. The 29-year-old admitted that pressure was one of the major reasons for his dismal performances apart from his nagging back issues.

"I had developed a back pain just four days before the Olympics due to overload, so I played with a bit of pain but that is not the reason why I lost. I lost mostly because of pressure," Sai Praneeth said. "I was positive, very confident and fit ahead of the Olympics but then some things kept happening, which affected me negatively. I could feel the tension on the court."

The World No.15 (singles) shuttler is, however, undergoing strengthening exercises to keep his back issues at bay. He is also keen to participate at the Denmark Open, which begins on October 19, to maintain his rankings ahead of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) in Birmingham next year.

"I am fine now but I need to keep doing strengthening exercises for my back or else it will become stiff again. Working hard on my game, training and taking care of my body — that's what is in my hands, so I really need some wins," he added. "You can't miss events as there are no events happening later. If you miss then later it could be a problem. We have the Commonwealth Games and everything is related to ranking."