New Delhi: With badminton gaining popularity in the country after the success of players like Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap, national coach Pullela Gopichand is not a satisfied man and wants them to be more consistent.
"Guru Saidutt, Ajay Jayaram and Kashyap need to be more consistent at the top as players from Indonesia and Chinese Taipei are catching up and also doing well. Moreover, they have to handle pressure and we have to remain patient with the results," Gopichand said here on Monday in a press conference.
More than 220 players from 22 countries including host India will be seen in action for the titles in five categories at the India Open from April 23 to April 28 at the Siri Fort Complex.
The national badminton coach wants the Indian shuttlers to handle pressure well and try to remain consistent at the top.
The former All-England champion said, "From the Indian perspective, a lot of young players will get an opportunity to play the tournament and it will be interesting to see how they perform against the top-notch [players]."
When asked if Saina can become the world No.1 player, Gopichand smiled and said: "She needs to win three tournaments in a row, but on a serious note, if Saina stays fit and motivated then she can achieve the goal of becoming world No. 1."
There are expectations that Saina and PV Sindhu can clash against each other at the knock-out stage, but Gopichand is not looking that far ahead. "Both of them have tough opponents to face in their first few matches and moreover the draw is not clear, so let's not think that far," he said.
In the past few years, Indian shuttlers have managed to dominate at world stage, but at times they are inconsistent and couldn't move beyond the quarters and semis stage. "We have been a bit inconsistent and that happens because world badminton is difficult to dominate, but we are improving," Gopichand clarified.
However, Gopichand remained positive about Kashyap's future, who has climbed the ladder and moved to No. 7 in world ranking. "He starts well in a tournament but fails to get good results at the end. Some work has to be done from our side and he also needs to work on his game. More importantly we should aim for podium finishes," Gopichand concluded.