HYDERABAD: The immensely talented Taufik Hidayat is ready to entertain the fans when he gets into action in the $ 1,20,000 India Open badminton championship commencing at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium here on Tuesday.
Hidayat, arguably one of the most temperamental players, insisted that if someone troubled him, he would definitely get angry.
“I think it is a normal tendency for any human being. I am Taufik Hidayat both on and off the court. I don’t see any big difference between myself and others. You can take a close look at me and make your own judgement,” said the former Olympic and World champion during a chat on Monday.
The World No. 7 from Indonesia believes that his chances in the India Open are good as anybody else’s. “But honestly, I am here because of my contractual commitment with my sponsor (Yonex). They wanted me to play and that is why I came,” said Hidayat, now on his second visit to India.
Hidayat says he has no injury problems and is aiming to play well. When reminded of the world record smash of 305 kmph by him in 2005, the modest Indonesian was quick to point out that at 29 he was definitely not young. “It is very difficult to play such strokes now,” he said.
Praise for Sridhar
Commenting on the challenge here, Hidayat said that there are many young Indian shuttlers who are really good. “Anup Sridhar, to whom I lost in the World Championship second-round match, is really good. He has the height and the strokes.
“Then you have Chetan Anand (World No. 13). Then of course, the World No. 1 Chong Wei Lee of Malaysia to whom I lost in the recent All England championship semifinals,” he said.
On what motivated him to play at this level even now, he says: “I wanted to quit sometime back. But my family, friends and sponsors wanted me to play on for some more time. The continuous training from morning to evening gets boring. But somehow I manage to sustain the passion for the sport,” remarked Hidayat.
Is there a dream that Hidayat is still chasing?
“For any sportsperson, the Olympic gold is the ultimate satisfaction, and this I got in the 2004 Athens Games. And I also won the World championship the same year. But there is one title that I want — the All England championship. I will keep trying and see how things go in the next few months,” says the six-time Indonesian Open champion.
When asked about coaching. Hidayat says: “I don’t think that always the top player in the world can be a good coach. I am a player and would like to quit as a player. Coaching is not my cup of tea.”