P.V. Sindhu’s first big win was a big surprise, but the teenager tells that she wouldn’t let the euphoria come in the way of her long term goals

It is late noon at the Pullela Gopichand badminton Academy in Gachibowli and the academy is busy with players concentrating on their fitness and routine workout sessions, giving a break to the nets. Meanwhile, the academy’s indoor green court gets polished and cleaned.

Sindhu’s excitement on winning her maiden Grand Prix might not be over, but she isn’t letting the excitement take over her goal. After her workout and stretches, she joins us for a chat. “I can toss the shuttle, if you want some action photographs,” she tells the lensman even as she exchanges pleasantries with her fellow players. Shifting smoothly between English and Telugu, Sindhu appears to be very confident and at ease with her game, the routine of playing, workouts and studies. Her parents are volleyball players — father P.V. Ramana an Arjuna award recipient and mother Vijaya, played at the National level. But that didn’t stop Sindhu from making a choice of her own. “I took a call on badminton and my parents just let me follow my heart and glad they didn’t influence or try to change my mind,” says Sindhu.

The feeling of having won my maiden Grand Prix Gold badminton title by beating top seed Juan Gu of Singapore 21-17, 17-21, 21-19 in the Malaysia GP Gold final at Kuala Lumpur gives me this little kick of a having won a big one. The marathon match which lasted for 1 hour and 11 minutes will be always good memory,” says Sindhu.

Celebrations? “Well that’s all over and I am back to my routine. Celebrations can’t go on for ever, if I continue to celebrate this first big win, then this could be my last,” she laughs and adds. “we shouldn’t get carried away.” For Sindhu, celebrations means time with friends, family, a chat with her sister who’s abroad and “eat biryani.” “Oh how I love to eat biryani. But I have to limit myself. Over indulgence will make me unfit and I will not be able to move around in the court,” she laughs again. Sindhu as a teenager is very tall and playful, off court. She seemed to be very social and warm in her way of greeting her fellow players and friends. But when it comes to playing, defending and attacking are her main occupation on the court.

“I also like watching movies and my favourites are Mahesh Babu and Prabhas. I catch up with most of their movies without fail,” she adds.

Sindhu says as a kid she was very excited about badminton and since she insisted on that sport her parents enrolled her at a badminton coaching Centre in Secunderabad. “That was where I learned my first classes in badminton and after that I shifted to Gachibowli to this academy. Since travelling was taking too much time, we shifted our house to Gachibowli,” informs Sindhu.

Though Sindhu looks up to her senior players in the field, her inspiration has been Pullela Gopichand she informs and “I am fortunate to be in the academy. For this I have to thank my parents,” she smiles.

Sindhu is studying B. Com and says she will complete her studies at all cost. “My school, college everyone has been very supportive and sometimes I see my friends more tensed than me before a tournament. They are also my strongest supporters and they make sure they remind me about my games and tournaments when I am out with them,” she smiles.

But Sindhu says her best friend is also her sister. Now married and based in the US, Sindhu’s sister who is studying MBBS is Sindhu’s secret keeper. “Whatever I do, I have to talk to her on Skype everyday. It could be for a minute but I have to talk to her, without which my day is incomplete,” she smiles.

When asked who accompanies her to her tournaments she says, “my parents. They are so well co-ordinated that each one knows who is busy and the other fills in without making it an issue. As a kid my parents would accompany me almost always, but now they know I can take care of myself and are teaching me to be independent.”

Sindhu as a player and student says, a child alone cannot fulfil his/her dream. “As a child I could dream of playing badminton but had my parents not supported me, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to even hold a racquet. My parents, both of whom were Volley ball players know the hard work and the sweat behind the dreams of sportsman and didn’t want me to start losing my dream. My dad is an Arjuna awardee. I have never seen them push their responsibilities or not wanting to accompany me for my training sessions. I have learned a lot seeing them and watching them care for us. A child on the other hand must always know that their parents work harder than them to provide all that we get so easily.”