Kidambi Srikanth focused on reclaiming lost ground

World No. 1 three years ago, Kidambi Srikanth is coming back from injuries and will start at Denmark Open badminton.

By Naveen Peter

With as many as four Badminton World Federation (BWF) tour titles in 2017 and the world number one crown to his name, Kidambi Srikanth looked destined for greatness.

However, indifferent form coupled with a series of injuries saw the Indian badminton player struggle to replicate a similar run on the international circuit in the last few years. 

But with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the badminton world into a break, the shuttler from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, used the break to good effect and is now ready to challenge the best in the business.

“The last six months gave me enough time to work on my body and physically I am feeling well. It is just about playing a few tournaments and seeing where I stand," said Srikanth in an interview to the Tokyo 2020 website.

"I was playing really well in 2017 and injuries aren’t something that you can predict in sport, and even if you come back well, it’s just not enough until you win tournaments on the trot,” he pointed out.

It was at the 2017 senior national championships that Kidambi Srikanth injured his knee. Though he was back on the court soon after, minor niggles, especially on his ankle, kept affecting his performance.

Kidambi Srikanth is only the second Indian badminton player after Parkash Padukone to claim the world number one spot.

Srikanth believes his eagerness to return to the court might have cost him in the longer run.

“Badminton is a sport in which it’s really difficult to make a comeback from injuries and start winning titles instantly. I think I rushed myself back post injuries and didn’t give my body proper time to recover, which, naturally, affected my performances,” the 27-year-old Kidambi explained.

“When it comes to a knee injury, it is really tough to make a comeback because it’s such an important part of your game and no matter what you do on the court, your knee is constantly moving.

“Even when you are jumping, it means putting a lot of pressure on your knees because there is a need to be aggressive for winning points.”

However, with the Tokyo Olympics approaching fast, Kidambi Srikanth is confident of reclaiming the lost ground at the earliest.

“I have been there already so I definitely know that I can do it again. I want to definitely regain the form I lost in 2017 and perhaps even better myself,” said Srikanth, who will begin his quest at the 2020 Denmark Open next month.

It's going to be a long road to the top again but Srikanth is certainly not short on conviction.