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'Trust the process'- HS Prannoy sets eye on world rank 1

Clawing back from relative obscurity, HS Prannoy is once more India's best hope in men's singles. The world number 7 has his sight set on the top rank.

HS Prannoy will take on Zhao Jun Peng

HS Prannoy (Source: Badminton Photo)


Pritish Raj

Updated: 28 May 2023 9:57 AM GMT

A lot has changed in Indian badminton over the past decade, but one thing has remained constant - HS Prannoy bearing the flag in men's singles.

It has been a topsy-turvy journey for the 30-year-old, but he again finds himself the only Indian in the top 10, making a successful comeback from the time when he had been languishing in the 20s and newer challengers were coming up.

Talking about achieving his career-best ranking, HS Prannoy said, "It is a happy moment for me. To be honest, I had no idea that I will move up the rankings this week. It has been more than a decade in the circuit and it has been a roller coaster of a ride for me. It feels great as I fought back from World Rank 30 to World Rank seven."

"A lot has changed for me in the past 18 months. I hope to continue this process and will be six ranks up soon," Prannoy laughed.

"With the amount of competition, it feels good to be India's top-ranked shuttler. One has to be consistent at the highest level of badminton and I think I am doing it day in and out at the moment."

Trust the process- Prannoy's mantra

The journey from World rank 23 in May 2022 to World rank 7 in May 2023 has seen Prannoy trusting his process and a deeper understanding of his own game.

Talking about what exactly has improved, Prannoy said, "There has been a lot of shift in my game in the past two years. My understanding of the game has changed. I have understood myself better. In terms of diet, training, and my game, I have been consistent with myself. There is a long way to go but the consistency has resulted in the improvement which can be seen. I think it is important to trust the process. I have been trusting myself very much in the past two years."

Prannoy has endured a career full of injuries and inconsistency but both things have gone away in the past two years. From performing admirably at the historic Thomas Cup win to defeating World Champion Viktor Axelsen at World Tour Finals, Prannoy had an eventful 12 months.

Talking about the improved process and understanding, Prannoy said, "I have just tweaked little things. I understand the geographical conditions better and I can practice according to the conditions."

"I focus on training for different conditions. I try to find the right training for specific events or specific opponents. One of the reasons that I have managed to beat some big names is that I train for it," added Prannoy.

Mentality and Road Ahead for Prannoy

While Prannoy has been consistent at the world circuit, the 30-year-old has failed in winning any major title in the past two years.

Talking about finishing tournaments and games, Prannoy said, "I have done well consistently. I just need to improve the finishing bit and grab the scorelines such as 18 or 19 points. I am working on it and I think the results will come in a few months."

However, the Thomas Cup winner is not much worried about the results.

"The mentality is important. You can't perform at the top level without having the belief of winning. I am not worried about the trophies at the moment, they will come but the important thing is to trust the process and keep doing things that help in improving. The result will come if I keep doing my work every day off the court and on the court," Prannoy said.

With the 2024 Olympic qualification cycle starting from 1st May 2023, he has his eyes set on the upcoming Asian Games.

"The Olympic year means that I have to play a lot of tournaments. I am looking at qualifying for the Olympics as I am part of the Asian Games squad. My focus is to get a medal for the country at Asiads," Prannoy concluded.

At times in sports, results might not be satisfactory always but consistency and hard work can put you at the top, Prannoy is one such example.

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