Kidambi Srikanth acknowledged that he is in the form of his life after winning the Australian Open Super Series on Sunday which was his third final in a row and second consecutive title in as many weeks. In a span of two weeks, he’s played 10 matches and won all of them while beating the World No 1 Son Wan Ho twice, top-ranked Chinese player Shi Yuqi along the way. If those heroics weren’t enough, he got the better of Olympic gold medallist and former World No 1 Chen Long to win in Sydney in 45 minutes in straight games.
“I must say everything went right for me in the final. It is special for sure coming up against someone like Chen who has been playing so well in this championship,” he told Sportstar after the 22-20, 21-16 victory.
“I was normal before the final. Didn’t feel any pressure at all. My approach was simple — to keep the shuttle in play, not to miss scoring chances and at the same time not to make too many unforced errors. Glad it really worked well and should thank the coach Mulyo (Handoyo),” Srikanth said. “This is the best phase in my career at the highest level and winning three Super Series is something which I would cherish forever,” he added.
The past month has seen some serious rise from Indian male shuttlers with HS Prannoy beating Long and Lee Chong Wei in consecutive matches in Indonesia and B Sai Praneeth winning the Singapore Super Series – at Srikanth’s expense. Srikanth believes all these positive results would only be good for Indian badminton ahead of World Championship.
“It is great for Indian badminton that we (Srikanth, Praneeth, Prannoy) have done so well in this last one month. It shows the kind of ability we have. Personally, I would love to be more consistent, ” Srikanth said. “Three Super Series titles ahead of the next big event — world championship — is a huge morale booster and I will have to work really hard to win a medal there,” he said.
After dedicating his Indonesia Open win to his father on Father’s Day, a smiling Srikanth dedicated this win to his coaches and support staff: “This Australian Open is to all those who supported me right through including coaches Mulyo, Gopi sir (national coach Pullela Gopichand), fellow players and all those unsung staff at Gopi Academy,” he finished.