PV Sindhu is well aware that Tokyo 2021 is going to be different from Rio 2016. The Indian shutter has to deal with the pressure of expectations -- something that the then 9th seed did not have face during her silver medal-winning campaign. This time, it's world champion PV Sindhu who will target Olympic glory in Tokyo.
The celebrated ride over the last 4 years has taught her the importance of handling the burden of expectations. More than a billion will be rooting for her when she steps on the court in Tokyo from the word go and the 25-year-old shuttler, in an exclusive interview to indiatoday.in, says she is ready for what promises to be the biggest challenge of her career.
The Olympic silver medallist and the reigning world champion has already sealed a quota for India for the Tokyo Games, which have been postponed to a date not later than the summer of 2021 due to the pandemic. Having flown to London to work on body analysis and nutrition, Sindhu is leaving no stones unturned to be at her best if and when the Tokyo Olympics get underway.
"It (world champion tag) is an added advantage as well. But I have to make sure... the responsibilities are going to be a lot. Compared to 2016, it's going to be very different, people's expectations are a lot more. I understand that. I go with a mindset that I have to give my best and give my 100 percent. That's how I am going to approach it. I am confident that I will do well," PV Sindhu said.
Sindhu opted out of last month's Denmark Open Super 750 tournament and is gearing up for the Asian leg of the BWF tour, which has been postponed to January 2021. The Tokyo Olympics postponement was inevitable in the wake of the pandemic but several elite athletes have spoken about the extended wait for the Games.
PV Sindhu was peaking before the Games were delayed but she is looking at the positives as she prepares to have another shot at Olympics glory. Having ended the drought for a gold medal at the 2019 World Champions, Sindhu has armed herself with new skills and more patience.
It's just one more year: PV Sindhu on Olympics delay
Women's singles field in badminton is arguably the most competitive arenas in the world of sport with very little to separate the top 10. Given the big match player that she is, Sindhu is confident she can rise up to the challenge at the biggest stage of world badminton despite the delay.
"There are some advantages and disadvantages (the Tokyo Olympics delay), I would say. When there were only a couple of months for the Olympics, I was preparing well, I was in top form. But due to this Covid-19, unfortunately they had to postpone the Olympics.
"That time, I thought it was a sad thing but I realised life comes first above all this. It's very important to take care of ourselves.
"It's fine, it's just one more year and I will work hard. And in this process, we couldn't play any tournament. In one way, I got to learn new things and improvise by learning different strokes and stuff. It's kind of an advantage where I got enough time to train and practice and try out different things and I am definitely going to implement them whenever the tournaments start."
Lockdown taught me the importance of patience: Sindhu
Shedding light on how she saw the positive side of the break due to the pandemic, Sindhu said: "I think patience, because when you compare with everything in this Covid-19 situation, not training, sitting at home and seeing tournaments getting cancelled. You have to train for a very long period of time, you don't know when the tournaments are going to start.
"All these things put together, patience is the main thing because that is when you'll get to know things. You don't know when this Ccvid is going to go, you just keep training. I think I have learnt the art of patience and also being hygienic and staying safe. These are the things which you are going to have for a lifetime now."