Ace shuttler Ashwini Ponnappa has been a force to reckon with in doubles. Now, she wants to try her hand in singles. The 24-year-old will participate in the singles category at the all-India ranking tournament in Bangalore next week.
“I'd like to give a shot at singles,” Ponnappa told dna in Panvel, where she attended Alegria, a college fest organised by Pillai Group of Institutions, on Tuesday.
“I love doubles. But I'd like to play singles. I stopped playing singles because of circumstances. I feel I don't want to sit around but play singles in national circuit and have fun. Singles is easier and I don't have to worry about. However, I am not sure whether I would take it seriously but I would certainly like to win some titles so that it will help my confidence,” she said.
“Incidentally, I will be playing singles next week since Jwala is not taking part in the tournament. This gives me a chance to explore. Anyway, I don't have anything to lose,” Ponnappa added.
This year will see two of the biggest events — Commonwealth Games and Asian Games – and Ponnappa has set her eyes on both. “Jwala and I will be looking to defend the CWG title. Every tournament is important and we take it as a preparation. The more we play, the better we get. Asian Games, on the other hand, is neither going to be easy nor difficult. We have beaten Asian players and aim to do well in that competition as well,” added Ponnappa.
Ponnappa, who was partnerinig Pradnya Gadre during the time Gutta was away from the sport for a while, is back with her old partner. “We needed that break. Jwala has been playing for long and she needed a break, especially after she went through a lot. However, we are back now with better understanding, respect and a lot more hungry,” she said.
“It is important to get along off the court. We have to understand each other and have to be friendly, otherwise you can't expect magic to happen on court. We are pretty good friends off the court. With both of us having different characteristics, it creates a kind of balance,” she said.
“The controversies (surrounding Gutta) affect us, especially what happened post Indian Badminton League. But, when we get on court, we leave everything aside.”
With the new leagues coming in every sport, Ponnappa believed they will develop a sporting culture in India. “These leagues give a bigger platform for sports. If you are passionate, you can use these platforms to prove yourself. It also helps one to earn money and play some quality matches. It is a really nice concept as you get to travel, be part of a team, compete with your friends and doing well for your teams,” she said.