‘We will now have time to adjust to a new doubles coach’

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The 19-year-old R. Satwiksairaj and partner Chirag Shetty are widely tipped as strong contenders for a medal at the Tokyo Olympics when it is held in 2021.

Satwik feels that neither the current lockdown nor the postponement of the Games is a setback for him.

“First, with our doubles coach Flandy Limpele quitting recently, it would have been difficult for us to train even if there was no lockdown — we were so used to his training methods,” he says in a chat with The Hindu.

“He made a huge difference to us. Made us mentally stronger, taught us to be fearless,” says the doubles champion.

Invaluable tips

“Limpele’s invaluable tips — like telling me not to go for smashes continuously and to tighten the defence — made me a much better player,” Satwik reveals.

“Now, once this lockdown is lifted, we will have lot more time to adjust to any new doubles coach,” he says.

The World No. 10 in men’s doubles says he is relaxed, and says the two video sessions everyday (monitored by chief national coach P. Gopi Chand) ensures they maintain the desired body weight and stamina, and also stay in touch with the game through wall practice.

“In fact, I have friends who have played at the State and University level to play some matches too,” says Satwik, who is now in Amalapuram (East Godavari) with his parents Viswanadham and Rangamani.

Satwik welcomed the BWF decision to freeze the rankings, and felt it was inevitable, given the international schedule going haywire because of Covid-19.

“The only thing we should be careful about is doing high intensity training sessions straight away once when we resume our regular sessions at the academy,” he says.

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