He has created history by becoming the first Indian shuttler to enter the finals of three successive Superseries events but Kidambi Srikanth says his best is yet to come.
“I am really playing well. I am very confident and this is the best I ever played so far but the best is yet to come,” Srikanth, who recently clinched the Indonesia and Australia Open titles, said in an interview.
The Australian Open Superseries saw a change in fortune for the Indian after he had lost five times in a row earlier to reigning world and Olympic champion Chen Long, who won consecutive World Championships in 2014 and 2015.
“I beat him for the first time. I was very happy as I did it in a final of a Superseries,” the 24-year-old Srikanth told IANS.
Srikanth is now the only Indian player to win the Superseries Premier, Superseries and Grand Prix Gold titles. Prior to that, he lost in the final of the Singapore Super Series to compatriot Sai Praneeth.
Srikanth not only won his fourth Superseries title at the Australian Open but also became the only sixth badminton player in the world to make it to three consecutive Superseries finals on the trot.
The Guntur player, who defeated Chen 22-20, 21-6 in straight games to claim the Australian Open Superseries title, has also entered the top ten of the BWF men’s singles rankings for the first time in 10 months.
After his successes, many youngsters seem to be inspired by Srikanth.
When pointed out that he has become an icon in Indian sports and a role model for many youngsters just like his coach Puella Gopichand and former star Prakash Padukone, Srikanth said he has to achieve more to emulate his illustrious predecessors.
“I don’t think I can compare myself with Prakash Sir or Gopichand Sir. I need to achieve a lot more to compare myself with them. Gopi Sir is my inspiration and it is because of him I took the sport,” he said.
(Monika Chauhan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)