My improved fitness helped me win titles: Praneeth

Hyderabad: Indian shuttler B Sai Praneeth, who recently lifted back-to-back titles — Singapore Open and Thailand Grand Prix gold — feels key to his success lies in his improved fitness. “Winning titles is always great and very important.

After Singapore Super Series, I immediately won my next (Thailand Open) tournament and I am very happy about it,” Praneeth told reporters at the Gopichand Badminton Academy here today. “I have become more fitter.

I have trained for long time. Before Singapore I trained for six weeks and after that I have trained for a month, and I think that is where my fitness level has increased. My fitness has improved and I am playing better,” he added.

Asked if he felt any improvement in his game from last year, Praneeth said, “Only the fitness level. I need only fitness to win titles. Overall I have my game, I have good strokes, but without fitness those do not work. So if I am fit enough I think I can win many more titles. So fitness is the key for my game.

“All coaches and everyone know that the only key for my game is fitness. So, I just need to maintain and improve it so that I can play well.” Praneeth admitted that he was going through one of best phases of his career at the moment.

“Winning back to back titles…this is best phase till now. After playing India, Malaysia and Singapore (tournaments) and winning Singapore and Thailand tournaments, obviously now I am more confident,” he said. Praneeth said he was looking forward to the upcoming Indonesian Open and Australian Open before his maiden World Championship appearance in August.

“I am prepared well. Now I have just four days left (for Indonesian Open). I am playing good and I am fit enough. I will continue my training and get ready for the upcoming tournaments.

“World Championship is a very big event and I am really looking forward to it. For World Championship, I have six weeks time (after the Indonesian and Australian Open). That is good enough to prepare for the World Championship.

If I train for five to six weeks continuously I think its good enough for me,” Praneeth said. Meanwhile, India national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand expressed his happiness on Praneeths performance, saying: “I am very happy that Praneeth has won his second tournament this year.

He has performed so well and I hope this serves as a motivation for the future as well and we will continue to have more results from him in the next few months and years.

“In fact in the last few days we had some great successes. At the Sudirman Cup championship also, our team had a very good outing. Very happy that we were able to beat Indonesia 4-1. All the players whether in singles or doubles have performed exceptionally well in the event. Very happy about the overall performance,” he added.