New Delhi: After launching the new season with an emphatic title win at the just-concluded India's top shuttler Parupalli Kashyap said he needed this victory to silent the critics after been "written off".
The 2012 champion, Kashyap clinched his second men's singles title at the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold yesterday after beating World No 5 K Srikanth 23-21 23-21 in a gruelling 52-minute contest and said it was a great start to the season.
"It is a great way to start the season. Actually, in November itself, I thought about trying and doing well in this two events -- Malaysia GPG and Syed Modi. I lost in the pre-quarters in Malaysia but luckily I could win a title in this event," Kashyap told PTI.
"I am very happy to win this. I thought I needed to do well. Srikanth has been doing so well in the last year and suddenly he rose to World No. 4 and everyone was counting me off.
"When I entered this event, people said I was not in form and told me that I didn't play well last year. But I told everyone that after the Commonwealth Games I actually played the best in my career.
"I reached the quarters, semis and quarters in the three tournaments that I played in. It's just that Srikanth had an extraordinary year and so everyone thought I was not playing well. So it was an important victory," he added.
While the title gave him a lot of happiness, Kashyap ended up suffering a muscle tear in his abdomen.
"My abs was injured during the match. There is a mild tear in my abdomen, I don't know how bad it is right now. there are no good physios in Hyderabad right now, so I might get it checked in Mumbai. I'm little worried about it now," he said.
"Luckily I have time in my hand, because the next important tournament is All England, so I will have time to recover and play in All England."
The final clash between Kashyap and Srikanth turned out to be a closely fought affair with both players refusing to give an inch.
Talking about the match, Kashyap said: "It was a tough match. Srikanth is an in-form player. I expected a match like this which will go to the end. We both know each other's game and was anticipating each other.
"I have been playing (RMV) Gurusaidutt and others but didn't play Srikanth for last one year now. We were supposed to play him in China and Hong Kong but I lost before I could play him."
2015 is an important year for shuttlers as the Olympic qualification will be decided this year but Kashyap, who had edged past Ajay Jayaram to qualify for the London Olympics in a dramatic fashion during the India Super Series, said he will focus on just winning events and not ranking.
"I haven't figured out which I would be playing but I will be surely playing All England. It is an important year. Srikanth has pulled too far ahead and now it's me and (HS) Prannoy who are close but right now I am not thinking about the ranking because with the experience that I had last time, I don't think I can think like that," he quipped.