Sindhu is harder to play, says Tai Tzu Ying

HYDERABAD: former world number 1 Tai Tzu Ying , the nemesis of the Indian stars Saina Nehwal & PV Sindhu , is in India for the Premier Badminton League (PBL), which starts in Chennai on Monday. Bangalore Raptors signed Tai for Rs 77 lakh. Considered the single woman with the most box office talent, Tai shares her thoughts with TOI.

Excerpts ...

Having beaten Sindhu & Saina Nehwal convincingly many times, who of the two is difficult to face?

Sindhu is tough. She is tall & fast which makes her tougher to play against. And those hard smashes are difficult to answer. But I try to find ways to control the pace of her game & then play my style of badminton. People say that my strokes are different but I just play the way I feel like at that moment. My goal is to enjoy the moment.

You look in total control against Saina & Sindhu. What's helping you dominate them so much?

I just play my game. It may seem comfortable because I enjoy playing even during a tense situation, but it is more important that I don’t make many mistakes in the game. Saina is a very determined player. She never gives up. Sindhu is good with pace & power. I make silly mistakes at times which are very basic, which most shuttlers won’t do in normal circumstances but I tend to do. So, my aim is to make fewer mistakes.

Sindhu beat you at Olympics & World championships when you are at your best...

I don’t think about the losses but yes, I want to win in Tokyo. Everyone comes to win. How you cut down on mistakes & improvise your game on court when things don't work as per plan is what matters.

Have you completely recovered from the injuries?

I am working very hard on my game & fitness. It is important that I enjoy & stay relaxed when I am playing. That's one of the reasons for playing in PBL. I want to enjoy, but play some good & competitive games here.

Tai Tzu was once considered invincible, but it was not at its best in 2019 ...

(Laughs) Tai is a simple girl who loves playing badminton. I train twice a day in the gym & have been working very hard to keep a check on the mistakes I usually make which result in the losses. And I want to enjoy the game too.

Are you sure you got to where you were from 2016-2018?

My goal is to win many more tournaments this year. This is a special year due to the Olympic Games, but having said that, I don't want to push myself.

For such a dominant player, the Olympic & World Championship are missing from your collection...

No particular reason as such. I am working to keep the mistakes in check & be at the prime of my fitness. I also give equal weight to mental health. I consider taking care of mental & physical health simultaneously is equally important.

Who among Saina, Sindhu, Chen Yu Fei, Nozomi, Yamaguchi, Ratchanok impresses you the most & why?

Ratchanok, she is tricky & difficult to read. Among the younger lot, South Korea have recently fielded many players. Some of them are impressive.

How excited are you about PBL & how does it feel playing in India?

PBL is great, most top players love playing here. This is going to be my second time & I am really looking forward to playing for Bengaluru (Raptors). They are the defending champions & we have a good team. I'm looking forward to the cheering of the crowd & I want to enjoy every match. The Indian people are warm. They smile & laugh always like I do (giggles). I urge them to come & cheer for us. There are many top players here & am sure it'll be fun to watch them live for any badminton fan.