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Satwiksairaj Rankireddy has his eyes set on another mission. The new star of Indian badminton along with Chirag Shetty have become the first Indian duo to have clinched BWF 500 Super Series at Thailand Open in the doubles, on Sunday. Speaking to The Bridge on Tuesday from Hyderabad, the 19-year-old revealed that his father Kashi Viswanath, who was a state-level player in Andhra Pradesh, is currently the president of Satwik’s childhood club in Amalapuram. Satwik had begun playing badminton under the tutelage of his father at this Officers’ Club. But the club still has cemented courts. Satwik and Chirag after winning the Thailand Open Satwik’s father has been continuously looking for financial assistance so he can lay wooden courts in the club.
Satwik had a different reason behind being established as a doubles player. He added, “Watching India’s matches in Thomas Cup, Uber Cup and in other major tournaments and simultaneously going through newspaper reports since my childhood, I always found Indian badminton lacked the sufficient strength. My father and brother, who also used to play the game, often discussed that except Ashwini Ponappa and Jwala Gutta Indian badminton did not posses doubles players of that calibre. I became influenced while often listening to their discussion and right from the beginning of my journey, I started playing in the doubles.” Malaysian coach Tan Kim Her was the anchor in creating the pair of Satwik and Chirag. Satwik used to play with Krishna Prasad initially. They even won under-17 Asian Badminton Championship title in 2015. Still, Tan Kim’s instinct forced to create the pair and Satwik, playing doubles with Chirag for the last four years, have completely changed in the presentation of the game and application. The bonding between them has been the key instrument. That is why Satwik, when asked about the difference between playing singles and doubles, stressed saying, “Playing doubles needs immaculate understanding and bonding between the two. You cannot win matches with your own show while your partner must have to perform.” Satwik also opined almost the same with his partner Chirag about dreams. He said:
Satwik explained, “I have been practising at the Officers’ Club since I was probably six or seven years old. I practice there even nowadays when I go back home for the holidays. I asked my father if wooden courts can be laid with our own investment. But refusing my proposal, he assured me some financial assistance would be coming shortly. We have plans to lay three wooden courts. Presently around 80 students, including boys and girls, practise at the club. I feel it is one of the major duties I have now to revive the childhood club that had helped me to reach the place where I am today.”
Due to chest injury earlier this year, Satwik was ruled out of courts for around four-and-a-half months. He said Roger Federer’s come back story had helped him a lot to motivate him during that painful phase. Satwik asserted, “But I do not need a motivator. My elder brother, who is now in USA, sends me inspiring messages every day and before and after every match I take part. He is my biggest motivator.”
“Yes, we have not yet beaten the current World Number one. That is one of our dreams, and I dream of standing on the podium at the Olympics.”