The Dubai World Super Series Finals later this month is a very prestigious event. It is always a great feeling to finish the year on a high, and quite naturally, I will be gunning for the title.
The preparations have been really good, with the coaches (Chief National coach P. Gopi Chand and the Indonesian Mulyo Handoyo) working diligently as always to fine-tune our games and sand-paper some of the rough edges.
I have been working a lot on my strokes and other areas too. You have to play differently in each tournament, you cannot afford to have the same approach or technique right through at the highest level for the simple reason that you are ‘marked and read’ by your opponents.
You have to be able to come up with different strategies on the day, and this has been my endeavour although we have had only 10 days after the Hong Kong Super Series to prepare. Fortunately, I feel that entering the final there is a good augury ahead of Dubai.
This Super Series is bound to be a huge challenge for anyone featuring there as the top eight shuttlers will be vying for the honours and it will be tough from the first round itself. You can’t take any player lightly at this level.
There is no scope for complacency. All of them are world class players, and I am conscious of the fact that I have to be at my best to get the better of them. I have to be on my toes right through the event, play consistently well to make the desired impact.
Winning BWF Super Series will be one of the major milestones of my career, given its aura and the intensity of competition compared to all the other Super Series. It is one of my dreams to win this Super Series title. That will also help me move closer to realising my other big goal of being the World No. 1.
I don’t feel the pressure of expectations being the only Indian woman shuttler out there in the Dubai Super Series. In fact, I look at that the other way — with a sense of pride. For, not every player gets this rare privilege.
(As told to V.V. Subrahmanyam)
The finals in a nutshell
The Dubai World Super Series Finals sits at the apex of the Super Series pyramid, a circuit of 12 events attracting the world’s top 32 and offering a $1,000,000 purse.
The top eight from the 12 legs of the series (eight in Asia, three in Europe and one in Oceania) qualify for the season finale. The final list of contenders, as announced by the Badminton World Federation, is drawn after the last Super Series tournament.
At the Dubai Finals, eight players (in the singles’ events) or pairs (in the doubles) will be divided into two pools of four, with the top two players or pairs advancing to the semifinals. Inaugurated in 2007, the BWF World Super Series attracts all the top stars, and the Finals is among the biggest prizes in badminton.