WORLD No.3 SHUTTLER Kidambi Srikanth believes he has a strong chance of winning a medal at the World Badminton Championships at Jakarta August 10-16.
"I think me being seeded, I have a chance of winning a medal if I can play my best in every game. The draw... well you can't choose it and I should be prepared to play anyone," Srikanth, who has been seeded third at the World meet, told IANS in an interview.
The highest ranked Indian men's singles shuttler will open his campaign at the global event against World No.206 Michael Fariman of Australia in what will be their first meeting.
The 22-year-old started 2015 on a brilliant note. He reached the finals of the India Grand Prix Gold where he lost to compatriot and friend Parupalli Kashyap in January. The Guntur-born lad then went on to win the Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold and India Open Super Series to reach his career-best ranking of World No.3.
However, it has been a little downhill for the Pullela Gopichand prodigy who has had to suffer early exits in as many as seven back-to-back tournaments.
"I had a very good start to this year and I am happy with the way it went. I only want to continue my good form and consistently keep winning. There is no specific reason for the early round losses. I just couldn't get the crucial points I wanted. I was doing some simple mistakes at crucial moments which I want to avoid," said Srikanth.
"Even though I did not do well in the last few tournaments, I am happy with my form and the way I am playing. There will be a lot of expectations from me. It is like now more people want me to win than before. So it is good to have expectations on us."
Srikanth was lucky enough to meet cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar following which his WhatsApp profile photograph immediately changed. He posted a photo of him standing next to the little master.
"I met him on Tuesday and it was the first time. We did not discuss anything but he wished me good luck for the World Championships. I felt very happy and lucky to meet him," said Srikanth, who will be trying his best to become only the second Indian male to clinch a Worlds medal after Prakash Padukone.
Indian shuttlers have won four bronze medals at the annual World Championships till date. Padukone became the first to clinch the metal in 1983 in men's singles.
India next brought home a medal after 28 years when women's doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa clinched the bronze in 2011. Women's singles specialist P.V. Sindhu then won two consecutive metals in 2013 and 2014.