Indian ace badminton player Kidambi Srikanth becomes World No. 1, overtakes Dane Viktor Axelsen
Indian ace shuttler Kidambi Srikanth moved to the top of rankings on Thursday. With 76,895 points in men's singles category, he beat Danish world number 1 Viktor Axelsen, who lost at least 1,660 points because he could not defend his Malaysian Open title last week, according to the latest ranking.
Interestingly, Srikanth has become the first Indian men singles player to become world number 1 and also happens to be only the second after Saina Nehwal in April 2015. The achievement is also a major feat for coach Pullela Gopichand who has helped both Saina Nehwal and Kidambi to the top apart from Sindhu among others.
We caught up with Kidambi Srikanth a while back and asked him about his comeback.
Although Kidambi Srikanth is not really a social media maven, one glance at his Instagram account shows what a sport he is. His recent update captures his spirit where he posts a photograph of himself lying crestfallen on the court. Yet, he gracefully compliments his opponent and says, “Not really my day. Credit to Viktor (Danish badminton player Viktor Axelsen) for playing well in the crucial points. Lots to learn from today’s match.”
This June, Srikanth stormed the badminton world as he became the first Indian to win the men’s singles title at the Indonesia Super Series Premier and Australian Open. With four international titles attached to his name, the only goal this Olympic quater finalist (2016) has is to win every match that he ever plays.
While he started 2017 with a world ranking of number 20, in a month’s time, Srikanth shot up to number 8. Despite his early exit from the Japan Open in September, the 24-year-old Indian shuttler agrees that 2017 has been quite a good year for him, considering his comeback after he injured his right ankle in 2016. “It was tough to stay away from the sport because I had never been through a phase like this before. When I got back to the field, I was scared to push myself and took time to give my 100 per cent,” shares the athlete. Around the same time, Coach Mulyo Handoyo, best known for training Indonesia’s Taufik Hidayat to an Olympic gold, joined the national training centre to ease Indian coach Pullela Gopichand’s workload. Srikanth says Mulyo’s experience helped him recover faster than he thought it’d take and get back to his winning days.
The champ clearly doesn’t intend to stop anytime soon. Srikanth clinched his third Super Series title at the Denmark Open this week. He also has major events like the Commonwealth Games and world championships ahead of him. All that matters now for this Pullela Gopichand protégé is to maintain consistency in all his upcoming matches, which he agrees isn’t as easy as it sounds.