New Delhi: Ace shuttler Kidambi Srikanth, who won four Super Series titles this year, feels the strong Chinese shuttlers are scared of the Indian contingent now after a string of good performances against them.
On the back of reaching four Superseries finals and bagging four titles, Srikanth was recently feted with the Sportsman of the Year award by CNN-News18. "Unfortunately I got injured after the Olympics. I had never been away from the game for so long. It took a great deal of hard work to make a comeback," the shuttler said.
In 2016, Srikanth endured probably the toughest year of his career, where he faced recurring knee and ankle injuries. It is no secret that Srikanth was disillusioned for sometime after losing to Lin Dan in the quarter-finals of the event, but a brief break from the game did him a world of good.
"It was a tough loss against Lin and I couldn't take it. It was really heartbreaking. I kept telling myself, that I have to work hard. Lin Dan played 5 percent better in Olympics and he won. And then I played 10 percent better this year and it worked in my favour," Srikanth added. The Guntur boy gave a major part of the credit to chief national coach and mentor Pullela Gopichand, who back in the 2000s started the Gopichand Academy.
Srikanth was also of the view that the time has come where Chinese players have started respecting the Indians, and to a certain extent are scared of them. "After Gopi Bhaiya retired, he wanted us to achieve whatever he wanted to achieve. If Gopi Bhaiya didn't start the academy, we won't be here. He is a very strict coach, but a friend to us also. He has the experience to guide us in tough situations. Now I think we have reached a level where Chinese are scared of us." Asked what are his goals for 2018, Srikanth said, "I have played a quarter-finals in the major events. I want to really win a medal at them now."