India’s PV Sindhu on Sunday hoped no one will ever question her ability to win big titles, relieved at breaking the finals jinx with a historic triumph at the World Tour Finals in Guangzhou. After losing seven successive summit clashes, Olympic silver medallist Sindhu finally settled her finals blues with a 21-19, 21-17 win over Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara to lift the prestigious season-ending trophy.
“I feel really happy. I have no words because it is my first win this year after coming and losing in the finals, so it was memorable. The year has ended on a beautiful note,” said Sindhu, who won silvers at the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and World Championships this year.
“Somewhere every time people have been asking me the same question. I hope the question won’t again come to me, asking why all the time coming to the finals I lose. I think I can say now that I won a gold and I am really very proud.”
Talking about her title win, world number six Sindhu said: “The last to last year I lost in semifinal and last year I finished runners up. This time I am the winner, so it is a beautiful tournament for me as I won all matches in the league stages and also the semifinals and finals.”
“I would definitely enjoy the moment as I am here. Next we have the Indian league (Premier badminton League), so I will go directly for that and I hope do well there so that would be all for the year.”
Sindhu, who had lost in the finals in the last edition, said she sometimes lost focus during the title clash. “It was a good match. Overall there was a lot of rallies. Sometimes I was remembering about the last final but I tried to focus again on the match,” she said.
“Whenever I play against Okuhara or Yamaguchi I never think it would be easy. I know every time it would be tough. Today also the rallies were 30-40 strokes, but I gave my 100 percent and I won. Okuhara also played very well.”
Asked about her targets for next year, Sindhu said: “Next year it will be Olympic qualification year and we have to keep ourself fit and strategies which tournaments to play and we will have Malaysia and Indonesia coming up next year.”
Badminton Association of India President Himanta Biswa Sarma congratulated Sindhu. “It is a great year-ending for Indian badminton. Sindhu winning the Tours Final and defeating the best players in the world in the process indicates journey of Indian badminton in the right direction,” said Sarma. “I congratulate Sindhu on behalf of the entire Badminton Association of India.”
All England Championships will be our target next year: Pullela Gopichand
Chief national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand has set his eyes on ending the 18-year-old wait for an Indian to become an All England champion next year after P V Sindhu clinched the season-ending World Tour Finals title.
Gopichand was the last Indian to win the All England Championship in 2001, achieving the coveted feat after 21 years of Prakash Padukone’s 1980 title. Asked about the targets, Gopichand said: “For us the 2020 would be a big one, and then 2022, so basically the Commonwealth, Asian Games and the Olympics are the big event but having said that the All England will be the target next year.
“It has been quite a while since we have won the All England Championship. It will be almost 20 years since Prakash sir won and then I won the Championship so I hope this time it doesn’t take so long.”
Sindhu on Sunday became the first Indian to clinch the World Tour Finals, capping a successful season where she won silver medals at the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, World Championship and finished runners-up at India Open and Thailand Open.
“I think it is a fantastic tournament,” said Gopichand. “The way she has played, she has beaten players of quality. To beat (Akane) Yamaguchi, (Nozomi) Okuhara, Ratchanok (Inthanon) in the same tournament is special. She finishes the year on a high. She has won medals in the major events and that was the target this year,” he said.
“It is great to end the year like this but more important is to start the next year with a similar win.”
Gopichand was also impressed with the performance of Sameer Verma, who not only qualified for the season-ending tournament after defending his title at Syed Modi but also came within touching distance of making it to the summit clash.
“I am also impressed with how Sameer played the entire tournament. To do well to qualify and getting into the semifinals, both are phenomenal and he was so close to get to the finals,” he said of Sameer, who had squandered a match point to go down fighting against Shi Yuqi of China in the semifinals.
“Overall a good tournament for him, so lot of positive to take back. Next is a a fresh year and good ending what would be a good beginning for next year.”
“We all deserve some rest. We also have the year ending league, which is a shorter format but it going to be intense and fun,” he added.