Roughly eight months after parting ways with her childhood coach, TT star Manika Batra feels she made the right move as her career graph took an upward curve since. Batra ended her association with her long-time coach Sandeep Gupta in March, ending a two-decade long association and shifted base from New Delhi to Pune to train under Sanmay Paranjape. Also Read - Rohit Sharma, Vinesh Phogat, Manika Batra And Mariyappan Thangavelu Recommended For Khel Ratna
In fact, the split was so bitter that the two are no longer on talking terms, but Batra, aware that people might make a big deal out of it, believes she made the right call. Also Read - Mark my Words, India Will be in Top-10 in 2028 Olympics: Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju
“I felt a lot more confident about my game and my movement in Germany and at Sweden Open. I can see the improvement. The playing environment in Pune really is positive and all my training partners are working hard with me as well for themselves,” Batra told Press Trust of India. Also Read - COVID-19: Delhi Police Doing Commendable Job in Testing Times, Says Star Paddler Manika Batra
Batra recently finished in the Round of 32 during the German and Sweden Open, which helped her jump 18 places in the ITTF rankings to be No. 61. With her hard work and improvement, Batra, 24, is confident of entering the top 50 soon.
“Physically I need to be stronger so that I can move better around the table. In table tennis, reflexes are very important. Everyone says I am tall so I can reach easily but reaching with hands is not enough, you have to be equally fast with your leg movement. I am working on that,” she said.
Batra is known to playing with pimpled rubber, which helped her defeat Olympic medallist Feng Tianwei twice en route her stellar campaign at 2018 Commonwealth Games. However, with Tianwei beating Batra 4-0 in Germany last year, the 24-year-old says paddlers are getting used to it more often now.
The players are more used to the rubber now and that is why I need to keep reinventing my game, keep improving, keep surprising the opponent. For that, I am working on a few things. And for that I need to improve my movement. I plan to use the pimpled rubber a lot more while I am twiddling,” Batra said.