I was ready to accept change, try new things: Prannoy

Sydney, Aug 5 (PTI) Ace Indian shuttler HS Prannoy on Saturday said continuous experimentation has been the key to his “special” season as he reached his second final of the year at the Australian Open Super 500 tournament here.

The 31-year-old Indian, who had won the Malaysian Masters Super 500 in May, beat young compatriot Priyanshu Rajawat 21-18 21-12 to storm into the final.

“A lot of credit goes to myself (laughs) because I was ready to accept change, try new things. The team which has been working with me has been really great. They have been able to give me inputs, help me each day in training,” Prannoy said.

Prannoy battled a series of injuries and health issues before turning his career around at the back end of 2021. During the 2018 World Championships, he was diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (stomach contents leak backward into food pipe) and was also infected with COVID-19 in November 2020.

The health issues had a huge impact on his performance but Prannoy never stopped trying out new things, right from working with a company called Invictus to improve his physical as well as behavioural aspects by having sessions in psychology and breathing techniques.

The player from Thiruvananthapuram also used a metabolic health tracker to monitor the glucose level in his body. Once former Commonwealth Games bronze medallist RMV Gurusaidutt retired early this year, he started training with him.

All these small efforts that Prannoy took over the years seemed to have come together as he fashioned India’s epic Thomas Cup win in 2022, won his first title in six years in Malaysia Masters in May and now is one step away from his second title.

“The coaches Gopi sir, Guru, physios, trainers, everybody has equally worked hard from the background, so it is a team effort that is happening and I hope we can find solutions for each tournament and keep going,” he said.

On Saturday, Prannoy was pitted against a tricky opponent in Priyanshu Rajawat, a Gopichand academy mate, who has risen to world number 31 following a series of good performances.

The duo has trained together many times and is familiar with each other’s game but the world number 9 Prannoy ensured that he had the last laugh on Saturday as he outwitted his young challenger comfortably.

“We both play each other almost every day. A lot of credit goes to him, he has been playing good badminton for the last 7 to 8 months. Over here also to get to a semifinal is not easy,” said Prannoy.

“He is always a tricky opponent, he has got big lanky smashes, you have to be very patient against these kind of players who are skill-wise way ahead of you.

“It was important for me to be composed and stay with him the entire match and keep getting the shuttle back. He knows my game, I know what I am going to play. just how good you execute on that particular day is all that matters.”

Source: PTI News


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