Badminton star Kidambi Srikanth is in all-conquering mode and he is achieving it with utmost precision. Srikanth yesterday bagged his fourth title of the season by winning French Open Super Series. Srikanth has so far played his fifth Super Series final this season. Yesterday’s triumph meant it was his second consecutive titles in two weeks after winning the Denmark Open in Odense last week. He had displayed skill, stamina as he overcame the challenge of Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto in straight games. The manner of which he has been winning has mesmerised everyone. “In conditions like where he has won, on fast courts, Srikanth is clearly the best player in the world right now,” coach Pullela Gopichand declared.
Srikanth is now only the fourth men’s singles player to win four or more Super Series titles in a calendar year. The 24-year-old’s 2017 titles include two back-to-back wins (that’s 20 matches; 10 unbeaten each time).
Srikanth has twice beaten previous World No. 1 Son Wan Ho, effected a stunning turnaround against current World No. 1 and world champion Viktor Axelsen at his home meet in Denmark, and dominated Lee Chong Wei and Chen Long — Olympic silver and gold medallists — in Australia.
Srikanth will jump to World No. 2 on the back of this run, but wisely waved off any bravado of gunning for World No. 1. “I think there was a lot of difference between Viktor and me for sure before the Denmark Open. I don’t think I’ll be No. 1; I might improve by a rank or two though. Definitely, it’ll be good to be there (No. 1), but I don’t really think of it right now. I don’t have many tournaments to defend anyway, so I don’t want to push myself for the ranking. I just want to enjoy playing,” he said.
Watch this video
His 2017 Super Series wins include titles in Indonesia and Australia in June, Denmark in October, and the French Super Series on Sunday, while there are two more Super Series tournaments still ahead, in China and Hong Kong. Lee Chong Wei had seven Super Series titles in one year, and his four puts Srikanth just behind Lin Dan and Chen Long, who have five in a season.
The Paris win was Srikanth’s sixth Super Series title. Saina Nehwal boasts three titles in a calendar year, and an overall 10 titles, the most for an Indian.
Legends like Prakash Padukone had won big at 27 and Gopichand at 28. The humble boy from Guntur is doing it in style at just 24.