Confident PV Sindhu looks to dominate new season

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BENGALURU: "The World Tour finals win is in the past now. It's a new year, a new season. I don’t think about previous finals,” says with a smile.

The World number 3 was speaking on the sidelines of a promotional event while in the city for the . She probably gets that same question time and again. After all, the World Tour Finals was her first win in 2018 after faltering in the final five times during the season, seventh straight since the Hong Kong Open loss the season prior.

“I was not satisfied with winning silver in the 2017 World Superseries Finals. This year, I thought I’ve to win. So when I came to the final, I felt that it should be different. I was focused. I was leading against (Nozomi) Okuhara, but I did not become comfortable, did not assume I would win. I knew every point would be crucial. And sure enough, she mounted a comeback. Each point was very difficult and important for both of us,” she said.

In the end, Sindhu got the gold after a 21-19, 21-17 thriller. Her first final win after 15 months, her last coming against the same opponent at the Korea Open the year before. She had come a full circle. “I was happy that there would be no more criticism saying ‘She was won (only) silver again’,” she adds, the smile slowly creeping back in. Nevertheless, she is quick to dissuade the idea that the critique got to her.

“When you lose, you tend to feel bad or nervous. But I never felt that criticism is bad, or felt like ‘Why are they always criticising me?’ The way I looked at it was, I won a silver. Rather than viewing it as a loss in the final,” she stressed. “It’s a thin line between winning and losing – you have to be strong and take in a positive way. If you rectify the few mistakes made earlier and come back stronger, that’s enough.”

At 23, Sindhu’s peak years lie ahead of her. She is already a tangible story of success for the young crop in the country, a fact that makes her ‘happy’, aware of the responsibility. With an Olympic silver already in her kitty, the focus is to go that one step further at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. But 2019, the Olympic qualification year, is key – to find her rhythm and chinks in the armor of the usual suspects, who she is likely to meet at the business end of tournaments.

“In 2019, I hope to do well. The Olympic qualification period is going to start soon (from April 29), so we’ll have to be fit and healthy,” she reveals before switching focus onto the opponents.

“When you play against the top players, you will always have that confidence that you did well against these guys following a similar pattern, so will try to do the same. Definitely, it is not one particular strategy. You should not stick to one as we play in every alternate tournaments,” she stressed adding that she will start with the Indonesia Masters.