The duo spoke about their India Open 2022 win and future ambitions in an exclusive conversation with Khel Now.
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty have entered the record books with an emphatic title win at the India Open 2022. The duo became the first Indian pair to achieve this milestone. Their summit clash was against the former world champions and their idols, Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan from Indonesia.
It was undoubtedly a proud moment for them as they both could win in front of their home crowd.
In exclusive chat with Khel Now, the pair expressed how they felt after winning the tournament and what would be their future goals after winning this tournament.
Expectations coming into India Open 2022
Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy said that they weren’t concerned about any result and wanted to play better. Before the India Open, both of them had tested false positive for COVID-19, but later on were cleared after testing negative.
“Our expectations coming into the tournament were to be able to play and test negative, so that we could play and luckily, we did.” Chirag noted with a smile.
“We knew for a fact that if we could give our best then we could win the title because it had been a long time since we had played a final and finished on top of the podium. I am really happy that we were able to win in the end,” he added.
Satwik too revealed the bewildering circumstances before the tournament. “We didn’t know what was happening in the beginning, as many cases were rising and we got tested,” he said.
“Firstly, it was a false positive test, so there was a lot of panic at that time. Then, again we got ourselves tested and the result was negative. We also got scared that every player in our proximity was turning out to be positive. But, at the end, we are happy that we could finish on top of the podium,” he further added.
On facing Ahsan & Setiawan in finals
Both Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy had idolized the Indonesian men’s doubles team of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan. In the India Open final, they were supposed to play against them, which they said was a dream come true.
Talking about this memorable achievement, Chirag said, “Yes, we had played against them a couple of times and lost to them in very close matches. We had only one win against them in three matches. So, we knew what was coming before the match and it was pretty much same for them too.”
The former also believed that it was important for them to come up with something unexpected against the former world champions. “We knew that in order to win the match, we had to play the game which they wouldn’t expect us to play i.e. attack at any cost and stay committed in our defence. It was also a dream come true for us that we could win against our idols.”
Agreeing with his partner’s point, Satwiksairaj expressed his happiness over the win and that he could do it on home soil. He said, “It was great to win against our idols. It’s always a pressurizing thing playing in your home tournament and also against your idols. Everyone wanted us to win. It’s great that we could play up to their expectations.”
Unexpected exit from BWF World Tour
Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy had a busy schedule post the Tokyo Olympics. Before the World Tour Finals, Satwiksairaj went through an injury because of which they decided to withdraw from the tournament. Both of them revealed that it became necessary at that point to pull out.
“Since the Olympics we were playing back-to-back tournaments. I had an injury in my knee since the French Open, so there was no time to rehab. We had to play all the important tournaments without fail. Before the World Tour Finals we reached the semi-finals of the Indonesia Open. Soon after that, I asked Chirag to skip the tournament and get some time for the World Championship,” Satwik revealed.
What goals they have set for this year
After their being successfully claiming the very first tournament of this season, Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy said that they would look to win the big tournaments now.
“There were a lot of targets we had set for this year. Firstly, we wanted to finish on the top of the podium in as many tournaments as possible. I am happy that we could do it in the very first one. Secondly, we would like to win medals at the big events like Asian Games, Commonwealth Games. We would also like to enter top five in the rankings by the end of this year,” Chirag signed off by saying.