Better defensive game has lifted us: Chirag Shetty

Express News Service

CHENNAI:  For the last month and a bit, Chirag Shetty had been suffering with a disk bulge in his back. But he has gamely soldiered on, after skipping the German Open. In the company of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, the doubles ace played and, in his own words, ‘played one of our best matches ever against Marcus (Gideon) and Kevin (Sukamuljo)’ at All England Open.

Even though the Indian duo lost, Chirag liked the way they handled the Indonesian World No 1. In an interview with this daily, Chirag, who is better now, speaks about how their game has evolved, the continuing influence of Danish coach Mathias Boe and a loaded 2022.


On season so far
We had a great start to the season, winning the India Open. We didn’t play the German Open because I had a bulging disk in my back. It was a lot of pain and couldn’t really train. But even then, we managed a good match against Kevin and Marcus at All England. It was probably our best match against them. 

On how they are approaching the year
The key is to peak during all the big events. We have three big events lined up back-to-back (see table). There is also the Thomas Cup which is another big event.

On how their game has evolved over the years 
Now there is a conscious effort to develop our defensive game. When we started out, we were attacking and our defensive game was only about retrieving. Now, I feel that we can win points with our defensive game or convert our defense into attack quickly. This is one of the reasons why we had a good match against Kevin and Marcus. We had a counter-attacking style that worked well (they lost 22-24, 17-21). Last year, we played them twice and you could see we weren’t good enough, including at the Olympics (they lost 13-21, 12-21). 

On have they started working with Tan Kim Her 
Not yet. We are working with Vijaydeep Singh. 

On whether they still talk to Boe
We are in conversations with him, mostly on Zoom. Even during All England we had a few conversations with him.  

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