I play PBL because I want to improve my game: Carolina MarinJanuary 1, 2018
Reigning Olympic champion, two-time world champion, an All England Open winner and with numerous Super Series titles to her credit, Carolina Marin has everything that a badminton player aspires for, but for her, playing in the Premier Badminton League (PBL) is as significant as any prestigious tournaments. The former world No 1 has been a permanent fixture in PBL for three years in a row, and relishes the playing field.
“For me, it’s very important to play here in the PBL because it’s a new experience and being part of Hyderabad Hunters is an amazing feeling. I play the PBL because I want to improve my game. It also gives me an opportunity to play and train with top players,” Marin told TOI Sports in an exclusive chat just after finishing her practice session under the watchful eyes of her coach Fernando Rivas at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.
The Rio Olympics gold medallist did not have a particularly successful 2017. She made four Super Series finals, but won just one. She finished runner-up in India, Malaysia and Singapore, losing to PV Sindhu in Delhi and on the remaining two occasions to Chinese Taipei star Tai Tzu Ying. She finally tasted success in September when she beat China’s He Bingjiao to lift the Japan Open Super Series. Marin then missed the season-ending Dubai World Super Series Finals after suffering a hip injury at the Hong Kong Open.
But that doesn’t seem to have perturbed her. “My next goal is to win the All England Championship and the World Championship, but I also want to fight for Super Series titles. I am looking forward to the new beginning where I will face a few new challenges,” she said.
Marin and Saina Nehwal have criticised the BWF for a “cramped” international calendar that has made it mandatory for top shuttlers to play at least 12 tournaments in a revamped schedule for 2018. While Sindhu has said she is going to pick and choose tournaments, Marin was not as certain.
“Lets see how it goes. We have three Super Series after the PBL and I will have to talk and discuss about that with my team and we will come up with the best tournaments for me. But I am sure it’s not going to be easy ride and will be tough for all the players,” she said.
Marin considers herself as her toughest opponent. “I have always said that my toughest opponent is myself but the top 10 players in the world have the same level and it’s very difficult to compete against them. When you have the same level with your opponent, you always have to be on your toes all the time and give your best,” she said.
Hyderabad Hunters ended their Delhi leg on a disappointing note, losing to Ahmedabad Smash Masters and Delhi Dashers. The decision of resting Marin and fielding Rasika Raje against World No 1 Tai Tzu Ying of Ahmedabad backfired big time for Hyderabad.
Raje proved no competition for Tai and the match became a one-sided affair as the Chinese Taipei player cruised past the World No 95 in straight games 15-5, 15-6. “It was just part of the team strategy, she (Raje) enjoyed a lot, this is what the team decided,” said Marin.
Hyderabad were trailing by minus one to two points against Delhi but Marin came rescue her team and pulled off a stunning 15-10, 15-12 victory over World No 6 Sung Ji Hyun which was her first win against the Korean in the PBL. However, Hyderabad went down 0-5 against Delhi.