With the number of talented young shuttlers coming up in India these days, chief national coach Pullela Gopichand has his hands full. Add to that, the fact Saina Nehwal moved her base back to his academy in Hyderabad from Bengaluru last year, it’s no wonder the former All England Champion is a busy man.
And that schedule means, according to him, his own kids cannot get the same attention that Saina Nehwal or PV Sindhu did growing under his tutelage. Gopichand said that when he trains both Sindhu and Nehwal, it’s not to help one beat the other but to help them get better at their game.
“It’s important to keep things in perspective and to ensure that me being with Sindhu and wanting her to develop her game does not mean that it is to beat Saina,” Gopichand said at an event organised by the Indian Express. “I want Saina to be the best that she can be, Sindhu to be the best of what she can be.”
READ: From Gopichand’s playing days to the Premier Badminton League era, how things have changed in India
“Tomorrow, if my daughter has the potential, I want to give her as much time as it is possible for me. I can never give Gayatri the amount of time that I have given Saina or Sindhu. I can’t because I think I have too much work and I can only give so much time to her,” he added.
Asked if Sindhu’s run of silver medals in major tournaments is a concern, Gopichand responded in the negative.
“I think, to be honest, we haven’t reached a stage where we can say, ‘It’s just a silver.’ I wish we had, but we haven’t. It means a lot for us. I think it’s not ‘just a silver’,” Gopichand said.
Sindhu added, “People keep asking me, when you come to the finals, are you not able to break [the jinx], or is something going on in your mind, or when you come to the finals do you feel any pressure…
“But it’s nothing like that. Sometimes, it’s just something to do with the strokes. Sometimes, I need to learn a lot more. Maybe it’s just a few points that I think that strategy-wise something went wrong.
“That’s all that’s happening… We just go into the finals thinking that we want to win that, we want to get the gold.”
You can watch a video of the conversation here.