Every win is special, but some wins come with greater glory and make more noise, like an Olympic medal or a world crown. But it's not always possible to chase every trophy. PV Sindhu, India's badminton queen knows it too well. (More Badminton News)
Despite her expressed desire to pick and choose events, 2022 has so far been a busy year for the 27-year-old from Hyderabad. And challenges will only get tougher. The next few months will not only define her season but also that of Indian badminton.
After winning her third title this season at Singapore Open, a Super 500 event, Sindhu has decided to skip Taipei Open to prepare for the bigger events. By the way, the win against Asian champion Wang Zhi Yi of China in Singapore helped the Indian shuttler collect her first Super 500 title.
Chinese Taipei tourney is a Super 300 event (level five) in the BWF World Tour, in Grade 2. Grade 1 has Thomas & Uber Cup and World Championships. Then there are World Tour Finals, Super 1000 and Super 750 - in that order. And also the Olympics, and continental events.
With Commonwealth Games in Birmingham starting July 28, entering a Super 300 event weeks before it doesn't make sense for a title contender. Then there is World Championship in Tokyo, starting August 22.
"When you see 2022, we have continuous tournaments, and we have the Asian Games (now rescheduled for 2023), Commonwealth Games, World Championships and World Tour," Sindhu said last December. "So definitely you will have to see what tournaments to play and what not to play to make sure that I'm 100% fit."
PV Sindhu's performance so far in 2022
1. India Open (500) in January - 3rd; 2. Syed Modi International (300) in January - winner; 3. German Open (300) in March - Round of 16; 4. All England Open (1000) in March - Round of 16; 5. Swiss Open (300) in March - winner; 6. Korea Open (500) in April - 3rd; 7. Asian Championship in April - 3rd; # Uber Cup in May - India finished 8th; 8. Thailand Open (500) in May - 3rd; 9. Indonesia Masters (500) in June - Quarters; 10. Indonesia Open (1000) in June - Round of 32; 11. Malaysia Open (750) in July - Quarters; 12. Malaysia Masters (500) in July - quarters; 13. Singapore Open.
She won three titles in 13 tournaments. Not bad, but not good enough for a two-time Olympic champion and former world champion. But beating the reigning continental champion days ahead of the Commonwealth Games will sure boost her confidence. Now, it's about keeping the momentum.
Having said that, the Commonwealth Games outing will be another massive test for the favourite from India. The competition is confined to the Commonwealth, but England, Malaysia and Singapore will field their strongest players. Also, Sindhu is yet to win a Commonwealth individual gold. There will be added pressure to end the drought.
After the Commonwealth Games, Sindhu will head to Tokyo for the World Championships, where the best of the best will fight for possibly the most prestigious title in badminton. Tai Tzu-ying, Akane Yamaguchi, Chen Yufei, An Se-young, Nozomi Okuhara, Carolina Marin, Ratchanok Intanon, Wang Zhiyi, etc. have all qualified.
PV Sindhu has always done well in the World Championships, winning the title in 2019 and claiming two silver (2017, 2018) and three bronze (2013, 2014, 2017). But in the last edition in Huelva (Spain), she lost to Tai Tzu-ying of Chinese Taipei in the quarters, a malaise for Sindhu which seems to be running very deep.
Then there small matter of her inferior head-to-head records against the likes of An Se-young, Ratchanok Intanon, Carolina Marin, etc. And the BWF 2022 season will continue, till the season finale (December) in Guangzhou, China.
The Indian badminton queen has some tough matches ahead. And she remains India's best hope.