New Delhi: Indian shuttler RMV Gurusaidutt on Monday said the Commonwealth Games bronze medal has helped him regain belief in himself as he was battling fitness doubts ahead of the match. (Medal tally)
Guru had to play three gruelling matches in a little over a day and the Indian said he was "tensed and doubtful" about his fitness before his bronze medal contest against Rajiv Ouseph but he decided to go without any expectations. (Also read: Glasgow CWG hailed best ever in rousing closing ceremony)
"It was really close match. The conditions are very slow here and I had to play a lot of rallies. I was not expecting to win. I just wanted to stick to my strategy and kept telling myself to keep fighting," Guru told PTI. (Also read: Winning gold is like a dream, says Kashyap)
"It was extremely tiring because I had a close match on Friday night against top seed Cheng Wei Feng and then in the morning I played Derek Wong and then within few hours I had to play the bronze medal match."
"So when I was playing there were lot of questions in my mind on whether I will last the match. I knew it is going to be another long match and so I was tensed and doubtful. I was not feeling strong on my legs during the third game in the first match but Gopi Sir really pumped me up and that really pushed me, I am happy I could win," said Guru, who had won the singles title at 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games.
The 24-year-old was desperate for such a victory ever since making foray into the international circuit in 2008 and he said it will act as a great motivation for him. (Also read: Doubles do not get recognition like singles, laments Jwala Gutta)
"It was disappointing to miss the finals but this medal has boosted my confidence and it is a completely different feeling. It has made me believe in myself. Such a medal changes everything, we have seen that with Kashyap. It is a lifetime achievement. The recognition and the motivation that one gets is immense. I hope I can keep pushing myself further and that it changes my career," he said.
"In the last two months, I have been playing well. The Thomas Cup was a big turning point. It was a team championship and we don't get to play such big events much and so performing at that stage certainly helped my confidence. I had worked on my net game and it sort of opened up my game. I am more confident at the nets now," he added.
Guru said he is aiming to do well at the Asian Games and super series tournaments.
"I'm not in the (August 2014) world championships because I didn't qualify because I do not have a high enough ranking. I will be playing the Asian Games team event next. I don't think I will qualify for the individuals as only two singles players are selected and Kashyap and Srikanth are higher in rank. So my role will be to play the third singles in the team event like in the Thomas Cup," he said.
"There are not many big events before the Asian games. So there is no chance of improving the ranking points now. Or else maybe I could have carried the momentum in the Asian games too. So I will look to do well in the Super Series events in October starting with Denmark Open," he added.
Guru, who won a bronze medal at the 2008 BWF World Junior Championships, said he wants to stay injury-free and break into the top 15 by this year-end.
"I would like to be inside the top 20 by this year-end. I have not played too many events this year and the main target will be to stay injury-free because I generally play well and have had good results, reaching the quarters. So if I can stay fit, I can reach the top 15 too by this year end," he said.
"But I will have to put a lot of work in the next month to build up strength on my legs so that I can play well in such slow and tough conditions where we need to play a lot of long rallies. I need to gain strength on my upper body as well."
Guru didn't forget to thank his coaches Pullela Gopichand and Madhumita Bist for helping him during the tough matches.
"During the match, you tend to forget the strategy sometimes, sometimes you get carried away. That happened to me during the morning match and I couldn't win the match. But during the bronze medal contest, Gopi sir told me a few points and it helped me. Also Madhumita ma'am, she is so experienced, it helps a lot to have them by your side," he said.