Ashwini keen to raise the bar


The duo had forged one of the most successful partnerships, having featured in two Olympics and also clinching gold in the Commonwealth Games.

After the split, Ashwini found a doubles partner in N Sikki Reddy and the 27-year-old expresses an air of confidence and comfort with her new ally.

“Despite it being just a couple of months since we started playing together, it’s been good so far,” said Ashwini. “We started well at the Syed Modi (International Championship) and ever since we have been experimenting with rotating at the net and that has helped our game, though we definitely need to fine-tune it a bit more.”

The Bengaluru shuttler, who with Sikki reached the women’s doubles final at the Syed Modi, also attributed the improvement in her game to the fact that she had recently begun playing on the mixed doubles circuit as well.

“I don’t normally play mixed but since I’ve started, it has worked as a big confidence booster. I can actually see the difference it has made to my game even when I’m playing in the women’s doubles,” she noted.

More comfortable
Ashwini added that despite being untrodden territory for her previously, she was enjoying the freedom of having the option of moving to the net rather than being at the baseline.
“In the past, I wasn’t very comfortable at the net as my natural movement would take me back. But in my current situation, I have become a lot more comfortable and really enjoy moving forward. I would say it’s a different kind of game style,” she quipped. 

The Ashwini-Sikki partnership is still at a nascent stage and Ashwini wants to concentrate on putting out a strong performance at next year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia. 
That said, the duo also has plans for the immediate future.

“We’re participating in the Sudirman Cup next where we will be up against some strong contenders so we’re focussed on that first. Then there’s the Indonesian and Australian Open after which we have the BWF World Championships, where we will be looking to make a mark.”

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