'She feels just like another student'- Pullela Gopichand on his daughter
National badminton coach Pullela Gopichand believes that her daughter Gayatri Gopichand is like just another student to him.
Top-ranked Indian Women's doubles badminton player Gayatri Gopichand has made a name for herself at the elite level with her partnership with Treesa Jolly.
The duo has performed admirably in the team tournaments and made it to back-to-back All England semi-finals attaining World Rank 14 in the process.
Gayatri's father and India's head coach Pullela Gopichand credited her discipline for her rise. Talking to Badminton World Federation, Pullela said," For me, it’s not very different because I’ve had a lot of players I’ve taken care of since the time they were young, so she feels almost like another student."
"She has improved, and one of the reasons behind it is her disciplined practice routine," he added further.
Talking about how switches his role from coach to parent, Pullela said," Luckily, I don’t coach them to the point where I have to take care of the difficult decisions or the discipline part of it. She has Mathias (Boe) or Arun (Vishnu) or Siyadutt or Guru (Sai Dutt), who are part of the team. So I would say I’m more of a parent than a coach."
Pullela Gopichand returned to chair coach in the Indonesia Open 2023 for most of the Indian players.
Talking about coaching her daughter in the iconic Istora Senyan, Pullela said," From an experience perspective, this is the best tournament, in terms of the pure emotion of the place, there’s no other place in the world that can beat Indonesia and this stadium."
"I have beautiful memories from my playing days and also when Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, and Kidambi Srikanth won," he added further.
With more second-generation players coming at the elite level, Gopichand mentions that it was Gayatri's choice.
"I had always told her that if she didn't want to play, it would be okay. But it was her choice completely to take up badminton, and I am extremely proud of her for reaching the top 15. It is a privilege to have two elite players from the family," said Pullela.
Currently ranked number 17 in the world, Gayatri Gopichand, and Treesa Jolly will be India's main bet in the Asian Games for the mixed team and Women's doubles event.