New Delhi: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty now want to shift their focus on the team events after making two runners-up finishes at two consecutive events at the BWF World Tour at the start of 2024.
The Indian pair started the year on a high by making it to the final of the Malaysia Open Super 1000 and India Open Super 750. They fell short of the titles on both occasions but showcased their brilliance and consistency throughout the two tournaments.
They are now eager to take this form forward in the team events starting with the Asian Team Championships in Malaysia on February 13. The event will be a trailer before the big show in April-May and help India fine-tune their strategies going into the biggest team event this year, The Thomas Cup.
India is the defending champion of the Thomas Cup and will look to defend the title successfully later this year.
“We want to do well at the Asian Team Championships, but obviously our main aim is to do well at the Thomas Cup, we are the defending champions there. We will definitely want to be on the podium,” said Chirag after losing the India Open final on Sunday.
“We always do well at the team championship, especially at the men’s team championship. We also made it to the final of the Asian Games team event for the first time last year and were also leading 2-0 at one stage in the final against China but unfortunately lost that in the end,” he added.
The next big tournament for Satwik and Chirag is the Asian Team Championships as they are not playing any more tournaments this month, including this week’s Indonesia Masters, to avoid injuries and want to focus on playing only major tournaments in a very important year having two big events, the Thomas Cup and the Olympics.
“We are not playing in Indonesia next week, now we will go straight to the Asian Team Championship and then focus on All England Open and the French Open. We want to play less tournaments this year and not to get injured. So, we just want to pick and choose tournaments and want to reach the finals of whatever tournaments we play this year,” Satwik seconded Chirag.
The Indian team goes into the Asian Team Championships with a mix of experienced and emerging players. It will be a perfect dress rehearsal for the team ahead of the Thomas Cup in China. The men’s team is seeded fifth in the Asian Team Championships and the women’s team is going into the tournament as the sixth seed.