Riding the crest of success in international badminton, India's top ranked male shuttler Kidambi Srikanth is eyeing medals in team championships and breaking into the top-10 of world rankings this year.
After winning his maiden title in Thailand Grand Prix Gold last year, Srikanth became the best ranked Indian player in international badminton within 10 months and he said he wanted to play freely as much as possible and was looking to win some medals in the team championships this year.
"I don't want to take any pressure. Last year there was no pressure on me so I just want to play freely. I have improved a lot physically and mentally in the last one year. My attacking game has also improved. I want to be more consistent," said the 21-year-old.
"This year I just want to win some Super Series tournaments and then there are many crucial tournaments coming up like Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and World Championship and Thomas Cup next month, so want to win a few medals.
"I didn't have any major injuries so far, thank God for that. I will play few super series events and then skip few. I have already skipped a few national ranking tournaments and that is not allowed. But I will have to focus on super series more this season," he added.
In the last one year, Srikanth has beaten a few top 10 players such as Denmark's Jan O Jorgensen, Thailand's Boonsak Ponsana and Son Wan Ho of Korea, and the Indian said it gave him the confidence of reaching the top 10 by end of this year.
"I have beaten a few top 10 player but to reach the top 10, I have to be more consistent with time. It will happen eventually if I can maintain that consistency. Even P Kashyap reached the top 10, so beating these players definitely gives more hope of reaching the top 10," he said.
"I had a target of reaching the top 20 by the start of this year and I am there already, so now I want to be in top 10 by the end of this year," added Srikanth, who is currently world ranked 22.
The shuttler from Andhra Pradesh will carry India's hopes in the Indian Super Series beginning on Tuesday and Srikanth said he was looking to tame his opponent with his attacking game and also working on his variations.
"I am really doing well. My attacking game is working for me. I am focusing on variations. After I won the Nationals, I played consistently, reaching the quarters in Malaysia, finals of India Open. So I am happy with my game," he said.
"I will have a bit of pressure in India Open because it is happening in Delhi but then I have been lucky to have some good performances here. So I am confident," said Srikanth, who will open his campaign against Takuma Ueda of Japan.
Asked about his first round opponent, who is ranked 21, just a place ahead of him in World ranking, Srikanth said: "He is a bit of attacking player, so it would be important to get my game going. If I can do that I can trouble him. I will have to focus on that day and devise a strategy.
"Indian Open is really important tournament for me because it is happening in India and I am in best form of my career," he added.
Srikanth had two first round exits in the last two tournaments in All England and Swiss Open and the Indian said that the conditions there was not suiting him.
"The European situations are not suiting me, it is colder there compared to Asian countries, so wanted to go and have some experience."