The eight-month-old mixed doubles pairing of N. Sikki Reddy and Rohan Kapoor shone at the Denmark Masters and won the title defeating Jesper Toft and Clara Graversen last week.
The title was around the corner with a runner-up finish at Slovenia Open and gold at Maldives Open earlier in the year.
"Finishing at the top of the podium is a delightful feeling, it is a great feeling. We started eight months back and this has been a good journey," Sikki told The Bridge over a phone call from Denmark.
"Ours is a new combination. Rohan hasn't featured much in big tournaments, so we are adapting to that as a pair. This win will boost our confidence," Sikki added further.
The rise of the pairing has been quite rapid in the past months with the pair becoming the top-ranked mixed doubles pair in India. Talking about the importance of ranking, Sikki said, "Our target is to break into the top 32 of the world ranking by accumulating ranking points as it will help us play in BWF World Tour Super 750 and 1000 tournaments. To break into the top 32, we have to play these international challenge tournaments."
After getting considerable success with Ashwini Ponappa in women's doubles, the pair decided to end the association and move forward in their ways.
The left-right combo
The new yet formidable duo is one of the very few left-right combinations in the mixed-doubles category. The left-right combo is a very tricky opponent for anyone given the difference of angles.
Talking about the impact of this combination, Sikki explained, "It is a big advantage for us. There are very few left-right combinations and it is confusing for the opponents when they play us. We have to remind ourselves about the advantage and create confusion in the mind of the opponents."
Interestingly the left-right combination brings in a lot of extra in a badminton match with the left-handed shuttler constantly intercepting and blocking shots from the right-handed opponent.
Although Sikki believes that they need to keep themselves aware of the fact that they have this advantage.
"We always have to remind ourselves that we have to exercise this advantage. Our coaches sitting behind also keep pushing us for this," said Sikki.
Challenging but Interesting road ahead
With the Olympics qualification period kicking off on 1st May 2023, the pair has their eye set on the Olympic qualification.
Talking about the qualification cycle, Sikki said," These smaller tournaments are very important for us as it is the Olympic qualification cycle. We have to play a mix of bigger tournaments and smaller tournaments. We have to get exposure by playing in these bigger tournaments."
Currently ranked 35 in the world, Sikki and Rohan are very close to the important top 32 mark. With a few more wins at International challenges, the pair can certainly achieve the target of breaking into those rankings.
"The top 30 in the world is a big competition and we have to focus on ranking points. We will focus on that," Sikki concluded.
The pair will feature in the Nantes International challenge tomorrow and a good show at the tournament can push the pair into the top 30 of the world, thus, enabling their participation in the BWF World Tour Super 500, 750, and 1000 tournaments.