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Fit-Again Kidambi Srikanth Eyes India Open Title to Regain Lost Ground

Former World number three Kibambi Srikanth is currently on a comeback trail after an injury at the Japan Open 2016 kept him out of the game for five months last year.

Pratik Sagar | News18 Sports

Updated:March 25, 2017, 3:24 PM IST
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Fit-Again Kidambi Srikanth Eyes India Open Title to Regain Lost Ground
Kidambi Srikanth. (Getty Images)

New Delhi: Former World number three Kibambi Srikanth is currently on a comeback trail after an injury at the Japan Open 2016 kept him out of the game for five months last year.

Srikanth is one of the many Indians taking part at the upcoming BWF Metlife Yonex Sunrise India Open Super Series 2017, which will also see top stars from around the world competing in the capital, starting Tuesday.

"The preparations for the India Open have been going good as I have trained hard for good few days ahead of the tournament. So, I am feeling confident ahead of the event," said Srikanth in an exclusive Interview to News18 Sports.

Before sustaining the injury, Srikanth was regarded as one of best players in the world. In 2014, the Hyderabadi star stunned 5-time World champion and 2-time Olympic champion Lin Dan in straight sets to become the first Indian to lift the China Open Title.

In 2015, Srikanth achieved another first for India by winning gold at the Swiss Open Grand Prix. He also became only the third Indian to break into the top-5 of the BWF rankings.

At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Srikanth missed the chance to play in the medal match as he lost to Lin Dan in a thrilling quarter-final clash.

However, injury cut short his progress and the comeback hasn't gone as per plan. The former India number one made his much-anticipated return at the German Open in 2017, where he lost to Chinese star Chen Long in the Round of 16. While at the All-England Championships in 2017, Srikanth was ousted in the first round by a qualifier.

But Srikanth is taking these losses into his stride and conceded that he lacked match practice when he participated in the above mentioned events.

"The German Open and the All England Championships gave me good match practice after my return from injury. I felt I played really well in Germany and lost a close match to Chen Long. Same was the case at the All England and it was clear that I lacked match practice."

"It's really tough to play at the highest level right after you make a comeback from a lengthy lay-off. But after playing in these two tournaments, I am feeling much better about myself," said the former World number three.

The India Open could not have come at a better time for Srikanth, who is looking to regain his glorious form that saw him challeng the world’s best just a year ago.

The 24-year-old won the upcoming super series event in 2015 and is aiming to repeat the feat infront of home support to rebuild his confidence, which will set the tone for the rest of the season.

"I have always done well at the India Open and playing infront of home support is something that keeps me going. Whenever I go to Malaysia or Indonesia, the crowd is always against me if I come up against a local guy. I know how it feels so whenever I am playing in India, I know what my opponent is going through. The people inside the stadium help you push your limits," said Srikanth.

However, the current world number thirty one believes that one should not rush ahead of himself and jump the gun straight after returning from an injury.

"I am playing three tournaments in the next three weeks which will help me get into the world championships. I haven't planned anything further as I will sit down to chalk out my future plans after I participate at the Singapore Open," signed off Srikanth.

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| Edited by: Pratik Sagar
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