More than a year after recovering from a shoulder injury, Ajay Jayaram earned a final appearance at the Korea Open last week and the Indian shuttler said it was a big moment for him after enduring a challenging seven-month layoff.
[caption id="attachment_129200" align="aligncenter" width="700"]
Coming into the tournament as an underdog, Jayaram went on to reach the final and even though he eventually lost to World No.1 Chen Long, the Bangalore-based shuttler is glad he could realise his dream of making it to the final of a Super Series event.
“Since my childhood, I have seen so many people whom I look up to, like Peter Gade, Lin Dan or Taufik Hidayat getting up there, so it was a dream to take the court in Super Series finals. So it was a big moment for me to reach the final,” said Jayaram.
For six months, Jayaram was left on the sidelines, nursing a shoulder injury sustained in January last year.
What followed were multiple visits to the doctor, going under the knife and then the rehabilitation process.
Jayaram said: “It was not easy going through the injury phase. I thought I will be back after four months but the rehab was the most challenging. Because there are so many ups and downs, there are days when you don’t feel good, there is some pain and then you doubt your fitness. “But to come back after seven months and win my first GPG title at the Dutch Open was a huge thing for me. Post that, I reached the semifinals at Malaysia and also the final at Swiss Open. So it was a decent performance and much needed boost for me.
“I think the injury phase made me hungrier to get back on the court and do well. It was a challenging phase but I am glad I could spend time with my parents and I’m happy that I also stuck on and got better.”
Jump in rankings, but...
Currently ranked 32nd, Jayaram is expected to make a big jump in the world rankings when the fresh list is released on Thursday but the Indian said he is not concerned about that and wants to focus on consistency.
Jayaram attributed his success to his parents and India-born British coach Tom John.
“I am everything for my parents. Ever since a kid, they have inspired me. My parents are South Indian and are academically inclined but they have always supported me and allowed me to pursue badminton,” he said.
“I also owe a lot to my coach Tom John. I met him first at Padukone academy in 2010 at Bangalore. I was struggling then with my ranking hovering around the 70s. I liked his approach and he asked me to come to Portugal and train. I went there for three months before he moved to India. He gets the best out of me,” he added.