Top-10 ranking would fetch a good draw, feels Prannoy

Mumbai : India’s number two men’s singles player, H S Prannoy, feels a high ranking would help players avoid meeting top shuttlers in early rounds, while conceding that the primary focus should be on winning big events.

“After a certain period it’s not about rankings but about winning tournaments. But a lot relies on rankings. If you need a good draw in major tournaments you need to be ranked in the top ten. Otherwise you will run into the top seed in the first or second round and that will dampen your spirits,” said Prannoy here today.

Prannoy, who has reached the world no 10 rank for the first time in his career, spoke to reporters after being announced as member of debutants Ahmedabad Smash Masters in the third Premier Badminton League commencing on December 23.

“If you are lucky to be in top 8 and if you have the luxury to skip tournaments here and there, you should do it. You should then look at the big picture, focus on training for the big tournaments,” he added. He was responding to a query about shuttle great Prakash Padukone’s recent comment on the matter.

“I always maintain that while ranking is important it’s not the only thing. The focus should be on winning the important tournaments like the All England, World Championships, Olympics and Super Series finals. You should try to peak during these periods and accordingly plan your schedule. It doesn’t matter if in the bargain your ranking goes down for one week,” Prakash had said.

On the season that’s coming to an end, Prannoy said the victories in the initial part were a big confidence-booster.

“The start was crucial. A couple of wins here and there gives lot of confidence. It was the same for (K) Srikanth too. My performance in the Indonesian and US Opens gave me a lot of confidence and it has carried on till the China Open.”

Conceding he needed to be more consistent in his performance, Prannoy felt he had improved in this aspect.

“It’s tough because in Super Series events we are playing against the best continuously. I am happy with the way I have improved my consistency level but a lot of work is to be done in the consistency department. I need to win a few Super Series events,” Prannoy said.

He also credited Indonesian coach Mulyo Handoyo for the extra push the players get during training.

“He’s made a lot of difference. He’s positive with a lot of experience with a lot of top players and knows what’s to be done. He’s very much into training with you on court for 3-4 hours and gives a push when we are tired. That (extra) push needs to be done. He has been able to do it with all the players and been able to communicate from June much more with all of us.”

On the new service rule to be introduced by the world governing body for badminton, Prannoy said it would hit the doubles players and those with only one type of serve in their kitty more.

“I am not sure, but I feel doubles players will find it tougher. They serve from a higher level than the singles players. I have not thought about it yet, but it’s going to be a tough one for so many of them. I had expected these things and had practised. I have in my armoury 4-5 serves, but those with only one kind of service will be in trouble.”

While welcoming and praising the conduct of the nationals in Nagpur, Prannoy wanted them to be held in the lean international period, in May-June.

“It’s a good thing. We all enjoyed playing in this year’s nationals. The way it was conducted was stunning. Nobody wants to miss such kinds of nationals, but the timing was a bit hectic for all of us.

“I was in the running for Dubai (Super Series finals), had to play in China and Hong Kong Opens but could not train for those two. It would be better if they can schedule it during the free time – May-June,” said the shuttler.

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