The men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty has been a figure of consistency in a season where Indian shuttlers have tasted more disappointment than success. Barring PV Sindhu’s historic world championship, 2019 has had little to offer in terms of positive results.
Sindhu, too, has been enduring early exits of late with the French Open 2019 being the latest event she bowed out in the first round. However, Rankireddy and Shetty have kept the flag flying high, going far into the tournaments.
Thailand Open 2019 was the game-changer when the pair became the first such from India to win a World Tour 500 (known as Superseries till 2017) . The in the Denmark Open last month, they reached the final only to lose to the world’s top-ranked pair.
Naturally, there was disappointment but that emotion was a marked change in their attitude. Chirag Shetty reveals that earlier they were happy to reach semi-finals and celebrate blindly each of their victories without caring about the next step. But it’s not the case anymore.
“Before, when we used to win certain matches, we used to just fall down on the court and celebrate,” Shetty told Olympic Channel in an interview. “It didn’t matter how close the match was; we would blindly celebrate. We never thought about the next round. We were content to play the quarterfinals or semifinals. We never looked at winning titles. But that’s changed now. Now, every time we step on to the court, the target is to win the match. That’s the main change.”
Shetty accepts his pairing with Rankireddy is one of the best in the world, saying they have worked on their individual fitness resulting in massive improvement. “We have worked really hard with our coaches. Earlier, with coach Tan (Kim Tan Her), it was more about the on-court sessions, and with coach Flandy (Flandy Limpele) over the last six months, it’s been more about working on ourselves. We do a lot more running and physical sessions, challenging our bodies physically. Physically, now we are a lot more fitter,” he said.
The duo has progressed to the second round of the French Open that got underway in Paris where they beat American pair of Phillip Chew and Ryan Chew 21-9, 21-15 to enter round 2.