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The most heart-breaking moment in her life was during the US Junior Open semi-finals 2015. She was playing some of her best squash and found herself 2-0 up and 10-8 match ball when she succumbed to her opponent's home crowd and she collapsed mentally. She went on to lose that match 3-2. It took months for her to recover from the loss. From the next season, she gave her best. Your biggest inspiration
They are the only reason that I am more than just a hyper kid in school. They have sacrificed so much for me over the past 16 years and now, more than ever, I am so grateful for everything they've given me. They have created a perfect environment for me and Rohan to do well, with our dad being there 24/7 as our coach and our mum doing everything behind the scenes.
One habit that you want to break or you have broken?
One habit that I have broken is breaking the habit. My dad has always stressed on the importance of sticking to a habit. If I was ever playing sub-par during a tournament, it had to be attributed to not giving my 100% back at home during training. That's why over the past couple of months I have cut out anything unnecessary that does not help me in getting better every day including my beloved Mountain Dew.
What drives you to go for training every day?
The idea that people still think that women athletes aren't as good as their male counterparts.
Any rituals you follow
More than a ritual, I would just call it routine. We always stick to the same warm-up routine before every match of every tournament as it helps us stay calm and focused before our game. I always make it a point to stretch for a minimum of 10 minutes as it helps me calm down and re-focus for the next match.
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One match that you are proud of
Although I hate losing, I must admit that every loss teaches me something I wouldn't have learnt otherwise. One win that I'm very proud of was in the quarter final stage of the Canadian Junior Open 2015 when I was playing the top seed. Back then, I wasn't considered a serious contender on the International circuit and there were no expectations whatsoever of me winning that match. I went on to play some of my best squash and win 3-1.
Area of your game you need to improve
We have been working a lot on our shot selection and making changes to our game based on our opponent's strengths and weaknesses.
Initial hurdles you faced?
The biggest initial hurdle we faced was understanding the game.
Living in Hyderabad, there was a dearth of players and coaches which made it much harder for us to improve much initially. But as we started attending more and more tournaments, we got to interact with more players, coaches and referees and it became much easier to help comprehend the basic workings of the game. Furthermore, the induction of Squash Skills and PSA SquashTV has really helped us enhance our racket skills and analyze how the pros have been playing.
Perks of being an athlete
The highs and lows you feel as an athlete are unmatchable. Life otherwise would feel so monotonous.
Another perk is setting higher standards and bigger goals to achieve by pushing yourself harder each day.
“The highs and lows you feel as an athlete are unmatchable.”
My Short-term goals is to Win Penang Junior in July and British Junior in January while becoming the India No.1 in U-19 before turning 17. While my Long-term goal is to be the world no.1
The Greatest Indian athlete of all time
As of now, PV Sindhu. Not because she won an Olympic silver, but because she didn't fall into one of the most common traps athletes face when they attain fame: Complacency. She's been improving and climbing the ranks faster than ever.