HS Prannoy is one of the most exciting talents to emerge from the stable of Pullela Gopichand in recent years. The 22-year-old who won the Indonesian Masters Grand Prix Gold in 2014, has had a meteoric rise in the last few months and has now catapulted into the world’s top 20.
Currently ranked world number 18, HS Prannoy recently led the Kerala team to the gold medal in the men’s badminton team event at the National Games. Before leaving for the prestigious All England Championships (where he will be playing for the first time), the India number three spoke to Sports Rediscovered about his National Games gold, his recent improvements and about the rise of Indian men’s badminton.
Here are the excerpts –
SR: Congratulations, Prannoy on the great result at the National Games. How did it feel to be a part of the gold medal-winning Kerala team?
HS Prannoy: Thank you so much first of all. It feels great to be a part of Kerala team and winning in front of the home crowd made it more special for all of us. And this is the third consecutive time we are winning gold medal in team event. So it’s kinda superb feeling.
SR: The victory must have helped to ease the pain of the shoulder injury-induced loss at the semi-finals of the National Championships just a few days back?
HS Prannoy: Yeah, the loss in Senior Nationals did hurt me, but some things are not in your hands. My left shoulder was badly injured on the semi-finals day, so could not push much. But yeah it’s all part of your life. I think something big is waiting for me in the coming days.
SR: You are now at a career-best World No. 18 ranking. Which are the areas of your game where you think you have made the biggest improvement to break into the top 20?
HS Prannoy: I think I am able to adapt to the conditions much better than before. And the fear of losing has reduced to a certain extent which is helping me to play much freely. I think these are the major two things which have helped me in getting into the top 20.
SR: At the Syed Modi Grand Prix semi-finals, you bowed out to Kidambi Srikanth in an exciting contest. How tough was it to play someone who you know so well and who is also equally familiar with your game?
HS Prannoy: It was tough playing against Srikanth in Lucknow. He is a player who has been on top of his confidence. But I think I really played well against him. I had my chances in the third game too but I think he was playing really good in the crucial points which I was not able to.
SR: There are now 3 Indian players in top 20 of BWF men’s singles rankings. This proves that Indian men’s badminton has made rapid strides in the last few months and can now confidently play with the world’s best. What are your comments on it?
HS Prannoy: Yes absolutely! Me, (Parupalli) Kashyap and Srikanth had been playing well in the last six months or so and have been able to beat really good players. I think we have the potential in us and when we have a coach like Pullela Gopichand, anything is possible in the coming days. In sometime you could see lot more wonderful performances from us.
SR: What are your goals for the rest of the season?
HS Prannoy: I have All England Open coming up next week (The All England Championships will be held on 3-8 March). And I have 3-4 Superseries tournaments after that. So every tournament is important. I think performing in Superseries now is the most important goal for me. And qualifying for the World Championships is also important for me right now.
Sports Rediscovered would like to thank HS Prannoy for the interview and wish him all the very best for his career.