you have to win this…you have had a great tournament…you have worked very hard for this…arundhati is playing well…keep a good length…you have to defend well…she will be attacking….be ready on the forehand side…she will only push you there…forget its the final…play one point at a time….enjoy…fight fight fight…
it was a monday and there was nothing normal about it.i was playing my second national final after 3 years.my match was scheduled at 3 in the afternoon.i was playing arundhati whom i had played and beaten before,though this time around she was playing so much better and had beaten me 3 days before in the team championship.i got up in the morning at 8,had bread omelete and chai.i decided i would just have a light stretch before i eat.i stretched well,ate my breakfast,switched on the tv..i love the channel ndtv good times…it has some really great shows…at around 11 i went for a nice bath,came out by 11.30.i ordered for aloo paratha,my stomach was too full with anxiety but i had to force some food in before i played,so i ate.finals are always very different.i guess thats why only who win those are called champions.i left the hotel at 1.45,reached the stadium at 2.the temperatures being 3 n 4 i would atleast take 40mins for warm up.my knee,my feet and my ankles were pretty sore,so the first thing i did was apply moov to make them warm,stretch for ten mins,skipping for ten mins,run,sprint,drills again for 10-15mins.after i started sweating like a pig i knew i was ready.match was announced though due to some tv issues we were made to wait for 15mins more.
are they like really giving the sx4???…no way it must be for saina or something…aditi why the hell do you care…just play the bloody game…in any which way you are pretty happy with your khatara kinetic…still man what if they really are giving the sx4….its simple win this and take it home….
we entered the court at 3.15.on the sidelines i could see prakash sir and vimal sir sitting.manjusha didi had taken her seat as coach behind the court.i looked at her and she said” dont leave the shuttle take everything” i nodded.in the background i could here the dd commentary as they were sitting close by.after 5mins of knock up we were ready to start.she won the toss and decided to serve.finally the match started.i started pretty slow,she just ran away with the lead.once she was way ahead i absouletly lost any idea about the score.i just told myself to play one point.after 15-20 mins she lead 20-16,i caught up and came upto 19-20.i could feel she was nervous to finish,though i was pretty nervous too.i smashed on her backhand,she played the shuttle high up on the net.i could have tapped it,but was a second a late i tried to keep it,went into the net.i lost 21-19.
how much are these people shouting i cant bloody think…i need to switch off…shit!how could you play such a stupid stroke..are you bloody crazy….its ok…you have to fight…she will not give up…shes fit shes not going to get tired either….so you have to work hard for every point….common man!this is your moment,enjoy…make it happen….dont give up….fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight…..
i started well in the second.i maintained my lead throughout atleast till 15-9.then slowly the errors started she came upto 11-15.i told myself its ok you have a great lead,big mistake.slowly she came closer and it was 14-15,i took a point 16-14.she came back again,16-16.i felt the pressure for the first time in the whole match.once i felt it ,it became difficult to concentrate.i lost three straight points 19-16.after that i knew from experience that it would be very difficult for her to finish the match if i was patient enough and continued to keep the shuttle in the errors will come.they came i made it 18-19.i knew the next point was crucial,we both knew.there was a very long rally,though she played a great smash on my backhand and i was no where near it,20-18.i went blank i stopped thinking.i just calm myself down the crowd was going crazy though i couldnt hear anything i went into my shell.i stuck too being patient focussing on each point,it helped she cracked,20-20.again a huge rally….21-20…now i knew i needed to change something i was not going to win rallying.i usually in such situations become very defensive and lose.this time i told myself risk it,go for the bloody lines,forget what happens,be brave.it worked,i hit two unbelievable smashes one on her backhand another on her forehand,she didnt touch both i won 23-21.i shouted my heart out after that game!
god!!!!….you fought…great…drink something….force that water in..fast recharge…water…drink…drink….what is manjusha tai saying…i cant hear anything…why the hell is the crowd shouting so much….the first points are crucial aditi…you have to take the lead…she is going to fight till the end…no easy points…be ready for long rallies….forget about the result….one point…one point…u deserve this…go all out…..
i started the third game exactly in the wrong way.i was slow,she was forcing the pace,she was attacking from everywhere.i was wondering what the hell should i do,i went down 7-3.and then raj babbar arrives in the hall.the umpire told us to stop the match.i was like are you kidding me,how the hell can you stop the match for him.they stopped the match for 10mins atleast.after five mins of cursing the match control people i thankfully decided to use that time to think a little bit about what should i do.i told myself to take the attack back,to keep the shuttle down in any which way possible.after babbar ji sat down finally we started again.i started keeping the shuttle down.it worked wonders.she started making a hell lot of errors.mostly because throughout the match i was only defending once i started attacking she just didnt expect it.i lead 11-9,when we changed sides.after that my confidence grew i was playing great at the net,i started playing great downward shots i lead 15-9.after that to say the truth i went blank.i stopped thinking.i was just reacting and knowing that she was tired and her body language had gone very down,i just decided to continue what i was doing without getting excited.at 20-15 i served,we played a long rally,i dribbled very close on the net,she lifted it went out.i won 21-15.i was finally the NATIONAL CHAMPION!!!!
did i just win…really…no way…u did it baby ….u did it…thanks for fighting so hard…national bloody champion!!!!!
i cried,and cried,and cried!like a baby,shamelessly!without giving a damn about where i was!i cried..i was just so relieved.vimal sir was standing beside the court.i gave him a big hug and cried,almost till i wet his jacket.then manjusha didi came and hugged me too.by that time dd people came and called me for an interview.i was crying when he asked me the first question,i said sorry and gave him an answer.i have no idea what i blabbered right through that interview,i dont remember anything.after the interview the rest of the press was almost falling over me the umpires came around me to give me protection.prakash sir came there from nowhere.he gave me a hug ,asked me why are you crying??i told him i have no idea and smiled.after answering some 100 questions of the press i finally ran out to be alone.i just needed to be alone.i got to the changing room.the first call i made was to hemant sir.pointless,because i couldnt talk the bloody tears just wont stop.he told me to call my parents first i called mom.she was crying on the other side,telling me to stop crying.after 15mins of crying on the phone i finally decided to stop.i changed and stretched well.
i coulnot have got this title without the efforts of my family.my coach hemant hardikar,my trainer darshan wagh,and my friends.the whole of last year i was struggling with injuries,with disappointments.but all these people just never gave up on me.i know im not an easy student to work with,but i am just one of the luckiest people to have such amazing people around me.thank you all!
p.s. i did get the SX4…..!….:):)