Kidambi Srikanth has developed a reputation for being called the giant killer on the badminton circuit after defeating several top players in the past one year.
The 20-year-old lived up to that epithet when he beat much higher ranked shuttlers on his way to the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold title in June last year, including then World No.4 and local top seed Boonsak Ponsana in the final.
The recently crowned national champion wants to continue that tradition by winning more tournaments in 2014. "I want to win more Grands Prix and Grand Prix Golds this year. The start to 2014 has also been good. I have played against a few top ranked players and beaten them. I want to continue that here as well as I want to do well on my home soil," Srikanth, who entered the men's singles quarter-finals of the India Grand Prix Gold here, told IANS.
The Hyderabadi said his win last week at the Malaysia Open Super Series Premier over top South Korean Wan Ho Son gave him a lot of satisfaction and confidence. He also beat former World No.4 and current No.10 Hu Yun of Hong Kong in the same tournament. "My win against Wan in Malaysia was a 70-minute long match. He is really good and won the 2012 India Open Super Series. He took a year's break after the Olympics. When he returned, within six months from nowhere he reached World No.13. So, beating him was a real confidence booster for me," said Srikanth, who loves to watch movies when he is not on court.
Currently World No.30, the lanky player's aim is to reach top-20 in the world by the end of the year. "The first aim is to win Grands Prix and then I also want to do well at the Super Series circuit. Then you have the Commonwealth Games too. In terms of rankings, I hope I end the year in top-20," said Srikanth, who plays for the local franchise Awadhe Warriors in the Indian Badminton League (IBL).
Known to handle pressure well on court, the rising shuttler pointed out that the burden is a bit more when he is facing fellow Indian on the opposite side of the court. "Losing to a fellow Indian will always be a setback. If you lose to your compatriot, then you become kind of a second grade player and nobody wants to be in that position. There will always be a bit of pressure against an Indian as you want to be the best one out there. But at the same time you also don't want to lose to a foreign player. The pressure is always there but it depends on how you take it," said Srikanth.