I will take one match at a time: Parupalli Kashyap
New Delhi: Unfazed by the tough draw that awaits him, ace Indian shuttler Parupalli Kashyap says he would look to take one match at a time at his happy hunting ground when the India Open Super Series commences here on Tuesday.
Seeded fifth in the tournament, Kashyap will be facing former Olympic and world champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia in the very first round.
If the Indian Olympian manages to get past Hidayat, he is likely to face world no. 1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia in the quarterfinals.
"I have a very tough draw so I am going to take it match by match. It will be a tough first round for me. Taufiq (Hidayat) is a very tough opponent and I will be really happy to be winning against him," Kashyap said.
"I have done well in Delhi. In the Commonwealth Games also I did well, so I just hope to continue my impressive run in the city. I am looking to enjoy the tournament and focus on playing well," he added.
Despite achieving a career-best ranking of world no. 7, Kashyap is not satisfied as he is keen to reach the top but says it would take a lot of hard work and improvement in his game.
"To reach the top, I have to work on a few things. Although my fitness level is very good...It`s my strength but I have to be more consistent. More work needs to be done as far as my technique is concerned, besides I need to strategise better, improve my rallies further and have to play attacking badminton," Kashyap said.
"Initially, no one was watching my game but now every opponent watches my videos and comes prepared. So, I need to adapt and perfect myself in every aspect of my game. Sometimes I should be able to change my strategies quickly," he explained.
Kashyap said the fact that he has broken into the top-10 means that he has been doing well but his aim is to win Majors and Championships and not be content with semifinal finishes.
"My focus is on trying to win tournaments. I would want to do well in majors and other championships. I am working hard under the guidance of Gopi Sir (Pullela Gopichand) and trying to be more and more consistent," Kashyap said.
Asked if he has made some plans on how to tackle the No. 1 shuttler in the world, Kashyap said: "I am not planning too much right now. It would be a spontaneous reaction. I will leave to Gopi Sir to make a strategy."
"If I reach the quarters, then I will think how to play Lee and discuss it with the coach. Probably watch his videos and plan accordingly."
Talking about why China is a dominant force in badminton, Kashyap said: "They are strong as a team. They support each other. They don`t mind giving away matches to each other in order to develop as a nation.
"Moreover, young players get to play the top shuttlers of the world very early and that helps develop their game. In comparison, we Indians are always under pressure to perform better against our compatriots. Like I am always under pressure to win a game against a fellow Indian because I am higher-ranked than him.
"Besides, their fitness levels are also very high. We are trying to follow them...Watch and learn from them. And also at the age of 18-19 the Chinese are sure of making badminton their career and are completely focussed on the task, while in India, we are still confused whether to take up sport as proper career or concentrate on studies," he elaborated.
Kashyap, however, said felt the budding Indian shuttlers are very much focussed as they have players like Saina to look up to.
"Saina has been amazing. She has not just moved into the top league but has managed to maintain her top position, which is very motivating and inspiring. More and more junior players are now doing well and coming up in a big way," he said.
Kashyap also expects the upcoming Indian Badminton League (IBL) to be a boon for the players.
"Indian Badminton League is a good model. I hope it is good for all the players as we would get to play the top players of the world. I hope the event is a success," said Kashyap.