Inform Chetan eyes to break into top 20

Back to back titles have prompted Chetan Anand to revise his targets and the ace Indian shuttler is now eyeing a top-20 slot by November end.

updated: October 09, 2008 17:41 IST
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New Delhi:

Back to back titles have prompted Chetan Anand to revise his targets and the ace Indian shuttler who was initially aiming to be in the top-25 this year, is now eyeing a top-20 slot by November end.

Chetan won successive titles in the Czech international and Bitburger Grand Prix badminton tournament and the current world number 30 is expected to be just outside the top-20 when the new rankings are released this Thursday.

"Although I am not thinking much about the rankings at the moment but Initially I had set my eyes to break into the top 25 but at the rate that I am going at the moment, I hope to break into the top 20 by November end," Chetan said in an interview from Germany.

The national champion became the first Indian male to win a grand prix tournament after he cliched the Bitburger Open title on Sunday piping compatriot Arvind Bhat in the finals.

Chetan said without a doubt, the Bitburger triumph is the biggest of his career.

"It is the biggest win of my career, it is a Grand Prix, a four start event, I could not have hoped for better than this. I think this win will shut all my critics who had written me off," the 28-year-old said.

"I was confident of beating Arvind but somehow I didn't play my best in the finals, may be pressure got on my nerves and I messed it up in the first game but then I decided to make him play as much as possible for each point and he started to become impatient and I eventually pulled it off," he added.

In the form of his life, Chetan said he now has the confidence to beat any player in the world.

"This win has given me a lot of confidence. I am completely fit and the way I am playing I can take on any player at the moment," he said.

The Hyderabad-lad has been on a roll this year bagging as many as five titles - Kenya International, Spanish International, Nepal International, Czech International and Bitburger Open - besides ending runners-up in two other tournaments - Indian Grand Prix Gold and the Belgium International.

"This year has really been great, I reached seven finals and have won five titles already. I hope to carry on with the form and I am looking forward to winning as many tournaments as possible," he said.

"I am taking an off this week. I have some commitments with a German club so I would be playing a couple of matches here before playing the Denmark Super series, Dutch Open, French Open Super series next and then it will be back to India in the second week of November," he added.

Good form notwithstanding, Chetan said still has to work on a couple of chinks in his armour, on being defence.

"For the last month I have been playing well, my strokes are also coming really well but I think I have to work on my defence and make it more consistent so that I can become hard to beat," he said.

The Arjuna Awardee has now set his sights on next year's World badminton championship and hopes to crack the top 10 before that.

"My next target is the World championship next year, I hope to break into the top 10 before the tournament and give my best performance," he said.

Asked about the Commonwealth Games, Chetan said though he is confident of winning a medal, he would not like to look that far at the moment.

"I know I can win a medal in the Commonwealth Games but it is still far away and I am concentrating on short term goals now. I just want to enjoy myself on the court," he said.

The past couple of years have been tough for Chetan, who was embroiled in a bitter stand-off with the Badminton Association of India, which branded him a 'rebel' for refusing to attend national camps at the expense of international tourneys.

This apart Chetan also battled through poor form prompting critics to write him off. During that phase, Chetan said it was the support of his coach S M Arif and family that saw him through.

"In 2007, initially I was ranked 21 but my ranking gradually came down as I was not playing enough tournaments. I was feeling very down but my coach S M Arif encouraged me a lot, my stadium mates, my in-laws they all have been very supportive," he said.