Satwik hopes India Open defeat will spur World No. 2 pair in future


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He was clearly disappointed to miss out the Indian Open title, but star Indian shuttler Satwiksairaj Rankireddy on Sunday said “losing is better than winning always” and hoped the defeat in the final will spur him and his doubles partner Chirag Shetty to win a bigger crown in coming days.

Home favourites Satwik and Chirag signed off with a second successive runner-up finish after losing a tense final against world champions Kang Min-hyuk and Seo Sang-jae at the Super 750 badminton tournament here on Sunday.

“I feel sometimes losing is better than winning always. There have been few tournaments where we lost and then we got lucky to win but I feel when it matters, it will come, we just need to hang in there,” Satwik told reporters.

“Playing back-to-back tournaments is tough for us. There are a lot of good things to take. We wanted to hit the podium but we are disappointed we could not win but we are still hungry. We are not satisfied. So that will pump us. Next few days, we are taking off and then we start again for All England and French Open. So losing is better sometimes. I feel it will give us a lot of motivation,” added the 23-year-old.

Satwik and Chirag, the Asian Games champions, lost 21-15, 11-21, 18-21 to Kang and Seo after the two pairs fought for 65 minutes for some breath-taking badminton at the KD Jadhav Indoor stadium here.

“Overall, I think we are sad, losing that final in our home tournament, but the past two weeks have been really good. But yeah, I think that title still eludes,” Chirag said.

“It will come, we just have to keep our heads down and keep working. And the big titles will come.” The Indian duo, who won the 2022 edition, had finished runners-up at the Malaysia Super 1000 last week as well. They had also finished second-best at the China Masters last year.

“There is fatigue. We’ve never played back-to-back finals in our entire lives, probably in challenge tournaments, but never in Super 500 or Super 750. So the positive thing is that we are playing quite consistently,” Chirag said.

“The not-so-good thing is that we couldn’t win the finals. But obviously, you can’t win everything. Our target is to win other big events. And I know that eventually, things will turn in our favour. We just need to stick right there. But to look at the larger picture, we are happy that we could play the finals. Eventually, we will get that.”

Analysing their performance, Satwik said: “I feel in Malaysia we played like 80 per cent of attacking game, we didn’t use our defence. Here also in the starting few matches, we kept on attacking. In the semis and quarterfinals, we used a little bit of our defense.

“I feel like there is much more in our tank and we can play an all-around game. Today, we could have used the full court and we could have moved them, then things could have been different. The biggest positive is mentally we are there and physically can be much better. We get tired because we both love to play attacking badminton and that’s why we get tired and get injuries easily.”

Chirag said defending the Thomas Cup title in May will be one of the biggest targets this year. “We want to do well at the Asian Team Championships but our main goal would be to do well at the Thomas Cup. And we want to be on the podium, but hopefully retain our title.”

While the Indian duo decided to pull out of next week’s Indonesia Masters Super 500, Satwik said the target for them remains to make the podium in the tournaments that they compete in.

“Right now, we are not playing Indonesia. We wanted to play less tournament but more quality. So that was the key in 2023 as well. We could have played 15-16 tournaments and we could have qualified for the World Tour Finals but our target was not to get injured, whatever we were playing, the final was our target. So now we played team championship and then French and All England, and then we take it from there on,” Satwik said.

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