Mumbai: He stunned world number 5 Vietnamese Tien Minh Nguyen twice in the ongoing Indian Badminton League (IBL) but Hyderabad Hotshots men`s singles player Ajay Jayaram today said he needs to work on his consistency to reach his target of breaking into the top 15 this year.
"I have beaten the world number five twice here and even in the recent past I have beaten a few top 10 players. Definitely, this will boost my confidence quite a lot," Ajay, who is currently ranked 24 in the world, told reporters here.
"I have to change the giant killer kind of tag by consistently beating them in the coming tournaments and playing the quarters and semis consistently. That is the positive I take from this tournament. I aim to break into the top 15 by the end of this year," he added.
Parupalli Kashyap is the top ranked Indian player with a world ranking of 14.
The 25-year-old Ajay is now looking at the Super Series tournaments in China and Japan after the IBL concludes tomorrow but said he doesn`t want to think too far ahead at next year`s Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.
"After this I go to China and Japan for the super series. At the moment I have planned according to that. At the moment I am just looking to play every tournament, I enter, do well and get a good performance everywhere," said Ajay, who is playing for Hyderabad Hotshots in the IBL.
Hyderabad Hotshots take on Awadhe Warriors tomorrow in the finals and he said it would be an interesting game as both the teams have done well in the league stage.
"I am quite excited. Both Awadhe Warriors and Hyderabad have had a pretty good run. Both have won many of their matches convincingly so, I think it will be an interesting tie tomorrow and I am definitely looking forward to it," he said.
The Mumbaikar had a light training session today and he said he had suffered a thigh injury earlier and didn`t want to exert himself too much.
"I am pretty fit right now. I had an injury before, so I don`t want to strain it too much. I had a bit of strain in my thigh," he said.
Asked if there would be pressure on him and Saina Nehwal to win their singles match as their doubles team wasn`t faring that well, Ajay said: "Probably, but every match you need to give your hundred per cent and try and win it. It is as simple as that.
"I think the singles will be crucial. Our doubles team has also played very well. Even if they can pull off something it would be good."
On the Sindhu-Saina rivalry on court, Ajay said both were playing well but rooted for his Hyderabad team mate.
"I think both are performing well internationally. It would be a good match again. Of course I hope Saina wins," he said.
With the current crop of youngsters performing well, Ajay said, "It is helping to raise the standard of men`s singles in world badminton. I think healthy competition is very important. A lot of youngsters are getting exposure and that is changing the scene of the Indian badminton."
Ajay said he has enjoyed playing in the IBL but said there was an added pressure to play against his compatriots.
"It has been phenomenal. I have never really experienced something of this magnitude. Definitely the last two weeks have been very hectic. We have been travelling every second day. But the whole team has gelled together. It has been a completely different experience.
"The crowds have been so involved and so enthusiastic, I have enjoyed every moment of it. When you play someone from your own country, there is always an added pressure. I think you have to enjoy it and play your best."
(Suresh) Raina is someone who scores at a very quick pace and he plays authentic cricketing shots.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni