Lakshya Sen began India’s maiden Thomas Cup final tie at the Impact Arena by taking on world No 4 and Tokyo 2020 bronze winner Anthony Ginting. The World Championship bronze winner, Sen went into the match with a 1-0 head-to-head advantage, having beaten Ginting at the German Open in March. However, the 20-year-old Indian had only won once in the ongoing Thomas Cup and lost thrice.
“I had won one match but it was comparatively against an easier opponent. The quarterfinals and semifinals were tough for me and then my confidence level, was not really high going into the finals. But somehow I had that belief and then, after the semi-finals, we had one day break. So I took the time to think as much as I can and try to do something different in the finals and go out there with a different mentality,” Lakshya told CNN-News18 in an exclusive chat.
Despite losing the first game, Lakshya eventually prevailed 8-21, 21-17, 21-16 to put India ahead in the tie.
“After losing the first game, I was on the faster end of the side of the court where there was a lot of wind from my side. It was hard for me to control the shuttle at that time. But I knew that the start of the second game will be very crucial, as I’ll go to a better end. So if I get adjusted to the condition faster, it will be good for me. So what are in the second game I started well, there was always a four-point lead, otherwise, it would have been difficult in the closing stages. I was just trying to score faster and just go all out or do something and not let the lead go too much. I think that gave me a lot of confidence in the closing stages to pull out them and again, when I was leading I was again very nervous to play and then a few points I was hurrying up a little bit but at the end, I managed to pull out it off,” Lakshay explained.
When asked about the role of seniors Kidambi Srikanth and HS Pronnoy in the team and how they helped, Lakshya said: “They were really good mentors throughout the tournament and as all the other players are still very young. We don’t have that much experience. So in a team event, I think they guided us very well throughout the tournament and even though I didn’t win the quarterfinals, they are they were always telling me next matches you’re playing everything perfectly. They always had that belief that we can win against Indonesia and they always had that belief in me.”
And it was the same for the other as well. The Indian teams’ support for each other is something that Lakhsya believes helped them cross the line.
“Even though I lost the other matches when I was going out there supporting I was giving my 100% shouting from the sides and then at the end when we used to win the tie, everything used to just change the mood, even though I lost my match. Everyone in the group was happy and then motivated to go there and play again tomorrow. So and then especially the girls (Uber Cup team) who are there to support us in every way then so the atmosphere outside the court. I would say it was brilliant and we were making more noise than the other team,” he said.
When asked about what’s next for him, Lakshay said: “There are two-three tournaments in Indonesia, Malaysia. Those are important for rankings as well as the Super 1000 Super 500 Super 750 tournament so I’ll be playing that and there will be Commonwealth Games after this. Asian Games is obviously postponed but I am looking forward to the Commonwealth Games and then the World Championship is there. I don’t want to put any pressure on myself but I just want to do the best I can and just play do my best.”