Gopichand makes a smashing comeback

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Three-and-a-half years after he won the All England title, Pullela Gopichand has embarked on his second innings.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:04 IST
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Three-and-a-half years after he scripted the best moment of his badminton career by winning the All England title, Pullela Gopichand has embarked on his second innings. The shuttler stormed to victory at the recent Asian Satellite Badminton championship to prove that he still remains India's best hope in badminton. Gopi needed just 30 minutes to dispose off JBS Vidhyadhar's challenge in the finals at Hyderabad last week. New techniques On display wasn't the Gopi of old times. There were very few smashes and instead, he relied more on intelligent net play and on keeping the court well covered. "There are a few modifications, which I have done to my game. I have become less aggressive in terms of my jumping. But my defence has been good and the net has worked well," said the player. Former national coach and Dronacharya Award winner S M Arif believes that Gopi still has a couple of years more of badminton left in him. "He should be able to come to within the top 15-20 players in the world. That will not be difficult for him at any time, provided he gets a little fitter," said Arif. Gopi's first big tournament will be the Singapore Open in mid-November. Playing against world-class opposition there will be the litmus test on whether Gopi can rise like the proverbial phoenix.

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