Kidambi Srikanth is one of the most celebrated men’s singles badminton players in the last 10 years.
The men’s singles specialist first caught everyone’s attention back in 2012 when he won his first major title at the Maldives International Challenge, and the following year in 2013 at the Thailand Open he won his maiden BWF Grand Prix title.
He superseded his reputation over the next year as he shocked the world as he beat two-time Olympic gold medalist and then world no.1 Lin Dan in the finals of the 2014 China Open. He became the first Indian men’s badminton player to win a super series premier title.
From then on, the Guntur-boy has 10 BWF titles and a record 256 wins to his name.
In 2017, he reached 5 BWF superseries finals and won 4 titles. This rare achievement got him ranked no.1 in the world in the men’s singles category. In doing so, he became just the second Indian after Prakash Padukone to be ranked world no.1.
Srikanth along with Sindhu became the face of Indian badminton. All was going well for Srikanth as he notched up a gold medal in the mixed team event and a silver medal in the Men’s Singles at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
A lot was expected out of Srikanth as he commenced his 2019 campaign. What came through was an awful year. The former world no.1 slipped through the rankings due to a lot of first and second-round eliminations. The best he could achieve in 2019 was when he reached the finals of the India Open against Viktor Axelsen. He lost the finals in straight games 7-21 & 20-22. Ending the year as world no.10 and jeopardising his Olympic qualifications.
In the following year, 2020, COVID-19 struck the world, and the BWF canceled many major tournaments. Slowly towards the end of 2020 as BWF announced tournaments, the Indian superstar eager to bounce back contained his bad form and struggled to go past the quarterfinals. These first and second eliminations made him lose the Olympic race to Sai Praneeth. Though Sai, who was ranked higher than Srikanth in the world ranking, qualified for the Tokyo Olympics as he won the bronze medal at the BWF World Tour Championships.
In 2021, Srikanth, who was part of the Indian squad at the Sudirman Cup, is still striving to get his best. At the 2021 Sudirman Cup he got to play 2 men’s singles matches, first was against Thailands Kunlavut Vitidsarn, losing 9-21 & 19-21, the second match was against Finland’s Kalle Koljonen, winning in 3 games 16-21, 21-14 & 21-11.
K Srikanth is also part of the Indian team at the Thomas Cup, and we wish he gets back to his best.
The BWF continues its calendar with the Denmark Open (October 19-24) and the French Open (October 26-31).