Sudirman Cup: Feel good to be part of quality Indian team, says Ajay Jayaram
Ajay Jayaram says that he never felt fitter in his decade-long career soon after attaining a career-best ranking of World No 13, which means he is currently the best Indian shuttler in men's singles.
"I'm very happy to finally reach my best rankings. I had my shares of struggles, be it injuries or lack of form. I just kept going ahead and it is satisfying to get the results," Jayaram said.
"This is the best I have felt about my game and fitness. In fact, this is probably the fittest I have ever felt. I had a long shoulder injury lay-off but I bounced back and achieved my best ranking. But I hope this is not my peak," said Jayaram, who beat three top 15 players in Viktor Axelsen, Tian Houwei and Qiao Bin recently.
While Jayaram struggled with injuries and form, younger shuttlers such as K Srikanth, Sai Praneeth and Sameer Verma made a mark in international badminton.
"I've always tried to stay away from any comparison with the younger players. Sometimes such thoughts do come but I have tried to keep away negative thoughts. I have started meditation and it has helped me a lot," he said.
After earning his place at the World Championships and Sudirman Cup team, Jayaram said giving his 100 per cent in the upcoming events remains his priority.
"My confidence is high after consistent results and I want to give my best at Sudirman Cup and World Championships. Our team is doing well and it really makes me feel good to be part of such a quality bunch of players," said Jayaram, who had entered the Korea Super Series final in 2015.
India have been clubbed with Denmark and Indonesia in the qualifying rounds of the Sudirman Cup scheduled to be held on the Gold Coast, Australia from 21-28 May.
Jayaram, who would be spearheading India's campaign at Sudirman Cup, said a lot of onus would be on singles at the mixed team championship.
"It is definitely a tough draw. Sudirman has two singles and three doubles and generally India's forte has always been singles so it will be difficult but I think our doubles players have done reasonably well of late," Jayaram said.
"At least in mixed doubles, Sikki and Pranaav have done well recently. So if we could pull out a single and one doubles that would be great. Of course, two singles and doubles will be our best bet, but let's see," he added.
Talking about the opponents – Denmark and Indonesia, Jayaram said: "Even Indonesia have good doubles team. Of course, women's singles we have an upper hand in both matches but men's singles, it would be a little bit more (sic) better against Indonesia but again I have done well against Viktor Axelsen, so let's see.