Q. How are your preparations going on for the 2016 Rio Olympics?
I’m trying to stay focused and do well in the Olympics. I will be playing in either the Australian Open or the Indonesian Open – will soon take a call on that.
Q. You are the lone representative for India in men’s singles at the Rio Olympics.
It would have been nice to have one more Indian men’s singles player at the Olympics. Unfortunately, Parupalli Kashyap got injured and HS Pranoy missed the qualifying mark by a whisker. The onus is on me to make an impact at Rio.
Q. You have beaten most top players in last two years or so – how confident are you of bagging a medal at Rio?
Well, I don’t want to go to the Rio Olympics just as a participant – my focus is to win a medal for the country. I have beaten most top shuttlers in recent times and it is not tough for me to overcome these guys. I was world number 3 for a long while and I know I have the ammunition to overcome any player on any given day. There is no bigger stage than the Olympics and I will be keen to leave a mark in Rio.
Q. How would you sum up your first few months of 2016?
I think things did not go my way in the first two-three months but I have done well in the last four-five weeks. You can’t be winning all the time and losing all the time. You will hit a winning streak or either hit a losing streak. It’s all part of the package of being an international player.
Q. How important it is to stay injury-free going into the Rio Olympics?
Look, I will try to do things in a proper way and hope for the best. You can only control things which are under your control like my body. If injuries happen, there is not much you can do.
Q. Are you trying to avoid playing too many tournaments ahead of the Rio Olympics?
I have been playing too many tournaments over the last twelve months. I had played in the SAF Games as well as the PBL. The coming three months are crucial for me and I don’t want to play in too many events so that I remain fresh at Rio.
Q. Finally, how was your PBL experience?
It was a fantastic experience. I just hope the PBL is held every year without any hiccups – there is no doubt that PBL has given a big boost to Indian badminton.