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Marin keen to regain World No.1 rank in 2018

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New Delhi: Four Superseries finals with one win could sum up Spanish badminton star Carolina Marin’s form in 2017 which she conceded wasn’t the best for her and hoped — with an eye on regaining the top spot in the world rankings — that the coming year will fetch her more titles.

The reigning Olympic champion and two-time World champion finished runners-up thrice — in India, Malaysia and Singapore — losing to P.V. Sindhu in Delhi and on the remaining two occasions to Chinese Taipei star Tai Tzu Ying.

The Spaniard finally managed to break the title drought in September when she beat China’s He Bingjiao to lift the Japan Open Superseries title.

However, her hopes of finishing the year on a high were dashed as the 24-year-old suffered a hip injury at the Hong Kong Open in November that sidelined her for the remainder of the season.

“It wasn’t my best year as I had to recover from a serious injury after the success at the (Rio) Olympics. I really needed to take care of my body,” Marin, who is currently leading the Hyderabad Hunters franchise in the Premier Badminton League (PBL), told IANS here.

“Now this year is done and I am looking forward to the new year where I will face a few new challenges.

“I want to achieve some big wins in the coming tournaments. Next year is already going to be very crazy because after the PBL we have three tournaments in a row. It’s going to be very tough for all the players,” she added.

Marin had earlier hit out at the Badminton World Federation’s decision (BWF) to make it mandatory for top shuttlers to play at least 12 tournaments in a revamped schedule for 2018.

The topsy turvy season had also impacted her Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings as she slipped to the fourth spot.

Asked how tough it is to maintain the numero uno status at a time when women’s badminton is getting more competitive with every passing day, the former World No.1 said: “It is impossible for any player to be at the top of the world rankings consistently. Even when you are at the top of your game, it’s difficult to win all the tournaments.

“From my side, I really want to keep improving myself to hopefully reach the top in the coming year. I want to win the World Championships and the All England Open next season.

“I know it won’t be easy, but I am working hard and that will be my main target next season,” she added.

When probed on her rivalry with the Indian shuttle queens Saina Nehwal and Sindhu, Marin said she has to strategise against both differently as she felt both are highly skilled players in their own rights.

Marin further said that she is currently aiming on improving her match fitness during her stint in the cash-rich PBL.

Asked about the chances of her Hyderabad Hunters side in the ongoing season of the league, Marin said: “We have a pretty balanced side and have really got bright chances in the tournament.”

After winning their opener against debutants North Eastern Warriors, the Hunters are all geared up for their second clash of the season against another latest entrants Ahmedabad Smash Masters at the Siri Fort Sports Complex here on Friday.

IANS

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