After guiding Hyderabad Hunters to a maiden title win at PBL 3, reigning Olympic champion Carolina Marin has now set her sights on winning as many titles as possible in the new international season.
A former World No 1, Marin had lost three finals in successive weeks early last year, which also saw her fighting fitness issues.
“I think winning the Olympic gold medal for my country is one thing, which makes me very proud,” Marin said.
“I have many upcoming tournaments in the year. I want to play good badminton and make my country proud by winning as many tournaments as possible,” added the Spaniard, who clinched the Japan Open last year.
While Indian ace P V Sindhu stopped her at India Open, Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying proved to be her nemesis at Malaysia and Singapore.
On her rivalry with Sindhu, Tai Tzu and Saina Nehwal, the 24-year-old said: “All of them (Sindhu, Saina and Ying) are very talented players and it is always tough playing against these three. Need to be very good at my game to beat them.
“But, off the court I share healthy friendship with them and through leagues like PBL we get a chance to play against each other a lot more in a completely different environment compared to BWF tournaments,” the left-handed shuttler said in an e-mail interaction.
Marin sustained a hip injury during the Hong Kong Open in October last year and missed the Dubai World Superseries Finals before guiding Hyderabad to a title win at the Premier Badminton League.
Marin feels leagues such as Premier Badminton League (PBL) will help take the game to the next level in India and also internationally.
“The PBL is a fantastic initiative to popularise the sport of badminton in India. It is one of the biggest leagues with almost all top international level players being a part of it, which allows us to play some really good badminton,” said Marin, who also won the European Championships in April.
“I am sure this will help in taking badminton to the next level in India as well as internationally.”
Marin said she enjoyed being part of the team and playing alongside talented players such as B Sai Praneeth and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy.
“I have enjoyed being part of the Hyderabad Hunters team and playing along with talented players like Lee Hyun Il, Markis Kido, Yoo Yeon Seong, Sai Praneeth and Satwik Sairaj.”
In awe of fellow Spaniard and World No 1 Rafael Nadal, Marin said that his journey inspired her a lot.
“Nadal’s journey to success inspires me a lot.
Even after achieving tremendous success as a sportsperson, he is so humble and down to earth,” she said.
Marin also felt efforts to take the game to the grassroots by various PBL franchises was a good initiative as it will benefit the youngsters.
“I think badminton as a sport is gaining popularity in India with leagues like PBL. I have seen great talent in India across age groups,” she said.
“I recently played with some kids in the Boost Play the Pros event and was surprised at the kind of game displayed by these young kids. Such initiatives inspire more people to participate in the sport with all the more passion.