’Beating top guns was morale boosting’


While he has beaten big names like Viktor Axelsen, the World No 13 has struggled to get past the quarterfinal round at tournaments this year. Ajay, however, insists it has been a great year for him so far. “Considering the last one year, I can pretty much say that it’s been the best year of my career so far. I definitely have been more consistent this year and my rankings are a proof of that,” he said.

Jayaram, who recently moved from Bengaluru back to his home town Mumbai to train under Jitesh Padukone, added that victories against the bigger names help motivate him further. “Beating the more recognised players help me on a personal level and boost my confidence.”
Reflecting on two such matches, Jayaram said: “Beating Viktor at the Malaysia Open was special. Another such instance was when I played Tian Houwei during the All England Open... It was special because beating players with high endurance is something I really need to prepare for and it’s a good feeling when I pull it off.”

In 2015, Jayaram, pushing for Olympic qualification, would sometimes play as many as three tournaments in a month. Despite the packed schedule, he managed to win the Dutch Open and made it to the finals of the Korea Open. But Jayaram insists that looking back, he hadn’t planned it to the best of his ability and that things did get better post that phase. “After the tournaments that I did well in, there were quite a few first-round losses mainly beacuse I was overburdened due to Olympic qualification.

“But things did get better after that. I took my time out, trained hard and things have gone well ever since. I have been consistent at almost every tournament I have participated in,” added the 29-year-old.

Jayaram has been flirting with the top-10 ranking for a while now and the Mumbaikar notes that he needs to be playing more in the business end of the tournaments in order to make the leap.

“Ideally, purely in terms of results, you need to be playing the semis and finals or winning a Super Series. Apart from that, I really need to strengthen my weak points. Because having just one sort of game, you can get to a certain level but to break into the top-10, you need a more versatile game, which is what I’m looking to do.”

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