India's Rio Games silver medallist PV Sindhu said she has a lot to admire about reigning Olympic champion Carolina Marin despite their newborn rivalry, that is set to headline badminton events in the coming years.
Notably, the hype around the ongoing second season of Premier Badminton League centered around the big match between the Rio Olympic finallists and badminton fans were treated to the high-octane clash on the opening day of the tournament on 1 January itself.
In the crunch match that went to the decider, Hyderabad Hunters' Marin outclassed Chennai Smashers' Sindhu 8-11, 12-14, 11-2. Notably, the world number two holds a 5-4 head-to-head advantage over Sindhu in international tournaments.
However, Sindhu avenged her Rio Olympic Women's singles gold medal match defeat against Marin in the group stages of 2016 Badminton World Superseries Finals. Notably, it was the world number six who defeated the Spaniard in straight games when the two met for the first time at 2010 World Junior Championships.
If Hunters, who are placed fifth with nine points from four ties, manage to join Smashers in the semi-final, there might even be another encounter between the two young shuttlers. Sindhu revealed that she has to give her best whenever she faces Marin in future and that she will also strive to be the number one player.
"She [Marin] is a very aggressive player. She does not leave any shuttle. She is always a fighter. She has said that she has to give her best to play against me. Definitely, it is the same with me," Sindhu said, after her straight games win against world number three Sung Ji Hyun during Tuesday's PBL tie between Smashers and Mumbai Rockets in Bengaluru.
"Everybody thinks that they themselves have to be on top. Even I wish to reach the top. Each and everybody has to work hard and it pays off," the 21-year-old replied when asked about Marin's desire to be on top for the next few years.
On Chinese domination of the sport
Sindhu also said leagues like PBL is a good exposure for Indians as well as foreign shuttlers as it provides a platform for understanding and sharing different techniques and strategies. She added that Chinese domination in the sport is a thing of the past and top quality players are coming from everywhere around the globe.
"The league [PBL] is very good experience. Indian players and foreign players come together and play it as team event. You learn a lot more from the the foreigners. Definitely it is a very good exposure and experience," Sindhu opined.
"Now there a lot more players from countries like Spain, Korea and Thailand coming up. For example, Sung Ji Hyun. It's not about only the Chinese anymore, every player, every country is doing well."