Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Interview with Anand Pawar

I recently had the privilege of interviewing Anand Pawar, who is one of the best Indian badminton players in the mens singles today. Anand is currently ranked No.44 in the world, and to understand things from his perspective, and for the benefit of badminton lovers, I posed him some probing questions.

Here is what he had to say.
An interview with Anand Pawar

Anand Pawar
Hi Anand, Your parents Uday & Sujata Pawar were themselves great badminton players of their times. Did you ever feel the pressure to perform well because of this? How was it like being coached by your father in the early days? How much of your present success do you credit to them?
Anand Pawar:
I've never felt any pressure to perform well with them being ex-players. In fact , I would say it is a great advantage to have both of them as my parents as they  have played the game for the country for a number of years at the top.
I would credit all my success till now to them as they have played an important role in my career right from the beginning. It is great to have parents like them ! :)

And, how is the experience of receiving training under the watchful eyes of the legendary Marten Frost? Is he a hard task-master? Is this training more about skills or strategy or about big match temperament?
Anand Pawar:
It's great training with Morten , just the feeling of having someone like him in your corner gives you such a boost.
He believes in simple training and nothing fancy. He says that it's important to imagine that you are playing a match during training so you can bring out the same intensity in a match. He pushes us really hard during training to be sharp and maintain a high intensity.
What kind of a training & fitness regimen do you follow?
Anand Pawar:
I have been training a lot in Denmark for the past few years and it has worked out very well for me. They have a very different system from the Asians as far as training is concerned. They have shorter workouts with more intensity rather than long hours of training.
This form of training has been good for me and I have been continuing the same routines when I am in India as well. I think it's good to have the right mix of  the European and Asian way of training.
Do you feel that many of the Chinese players are actually under-rated? We hear time and again about unranked Chinese players coming out of nowhere and toppling seeded players. Is this true? Why does this happen?
Anand Pawar:
The Chinese have a perfect system in place as far as any sport is concerned.
When it comes to Badminton , they have hundreds or players who are very good so it is very easy for them to produce new talents on a regular basis who can be world class players. They tend to peak at a very early age unlike Indians who usually peak at a later age.
They have a very strict and planned regime in place with the latest training methods and unlimited resources and infrastructure which enables them to train accordingly to be the best.

In general, the Chinese players are considered to be much stronger than Indian players. Don’t they have any chinks in their armor? What is your opinion? Do you use any different strategies when playing against them, as compared to European opponents?
Anand Pawar:
The Chinese are physically stronger but in the last few years a few of the Indians have been able to match them as far as speed and strength are concerned.
Indian players are far ahead when it comes to strokeplay and deception and this is the advantage we hold over many of the Chinese.
We would probably use the same strategy while playing the Europeans with a few minor changes of course.The game is not as physically demanding while playing Europeans as compared to playing Asians.

Anand, you are currently world number 44, and all the Indian sports lovers would love to see you rise further up in the charts soon. Is there too much of a difference in the world’s top 50 players? What are the deciding factors according to you?
Anand Pawar:
I would say there isn't much difference in the Top 50 in the world in Mens Singles apart from the Top 10 players. You can feel that they are playing in a whole different level other from the rest and it would take a huge effort to beat one of them. 
The game has become very competitive with the change in the scoring system and one can go in with a chance to win against anyone.

Anand, what advice would you like to give to young aspiring junior players in India, who are turning to the sport?
Anand Pawar:
I feel that there is no harm taking up a sport as a profession. Of course , education cannot be ignored completely but there should be a right balance between sport and education initially until it's time to make a decision whether to either take up sport professionally or continue with studying further.
My parents always told me that it was important that I completed my graduation however busy or involved I was with my game and it was the right decision.

Do you think that the badminton facilities in India are sufficient, both for the elite players and for players at the grass-root level? What more can be done, so that a continuous stream of talented players keeps on coming up over the years?
Anand Pawar:

There should be more Elite Training Centers in the country. Right now there are only 2 , in Bangalore and Hyderabad. Opening training centers like these all around the country will make it easier for players in different parts of the country to join them and be part of the system.
As of now , a lot of players suffer from the lack of availability of courts , shuttles and sparring partners. When a bunch of good players come together and train it raises the level of competition amongst them and all contributes to their improvement.

It is said that young Badminton players who are learning the game should not practice tennis too much, since badminton players tend to use the wrists more, while tennis players don’t because of the heavier racket. Is this true? What is your opinion?
Asking this question because many of the kids today try their hands at multiple sports before making a choice.
Anand Pawar :

Well , that theory does make sense but I don't really know how much of a difference it would make. The two games certainly have very different techniques and requirements.
Who according to you are the most promising junior players in India that we should be watching out for?
Anand Pawar:

There are many juniors coming up in different age groups in India. They are getting a lot of international exposure which is critical at this point of their careers.
Many of the juniors like Sai Praneet , P.V. Sindhu , Pratul Joshi have already made their mark in the senior stage which is good for Indian Badminton and hopefully many more youngsters will come up in the future.

Anand, with as many as 5 Indian men in Worlds Top 50 list today, how do you rate India’s chances in badminton in the forthcoming 2012 London Olympics, both in the men’s singles as well the other events?
Anand Pawar: Unfortunately , the Olympics have some pretty silly rules when it comes to the Olympic Qualification. It is not the best 64 in the world who go to the Olympics but each country and continent is alloted a certain number of entries.
It would be great if the best 64 in the world could play as then it would certainly make it the world's toughest event. We have 5 players in the top 50 in the world which makes our chances very good for London 2012.
Our best hopes will probably be Saina but  we also have a some good players in the Mixed Doubles and Ladies Doubles category.

What are the personal goals that you have set for yourself for the year 2011?
Anand Pawar: 2011 will be an important and a tough year as it will be the Olympic Qualification Year and everyone will be playing as many tournaments as they can to try and make it into the qualification list.
I would look forward to try and break into the top 30 in the World Rankings and also have some good results in the big events. I will be going to the Malaysia Super Series next week and then to the German Grand Prix Gold and the All England Premier Series in March and I hope to do well in those events.

Thanks a lot for your time, Anand.
And wish you all the very best for the forthcoming events!

Related Posts:

Profile of Anand Pawar

Also See:

Best Badminton Players in India - With World Rankings



  1. i want to become an elite badminton player. i am 17. plezzz can u tell me in how many years can i v that tough and skillfull for beating lee chong wee. i had played badminton from the age of 12 but inconsistently. for 1 month i am playing consitently 3 hours.

  2. Hi Ishu, a good coach can watch you play and give proper advice. Usually all the world level players start playing at a very young age, and practice for several years under good coaches to become a world-class player.
    taking advice from a good coach can help.

  3. Your blog is very useful for me.I really like you post.Thanks for sharing.