Terming them as "boring and neglected" areas of table-tennis, ace paddler Gnanasekaran Sathiyan on Saturday said he was focussing on "services and receives" to improve his overall game. "Service and receives, we have been focusing on, that's the area which is neglected quite a lot in Indian TT. That is the only stroke which is in your control. At the top-level I have realised that you don't get to play your game at all if you don't serve and receive well," Sathiyan told reporters at a 'meet and greet' event organised by GoSports Foundation here.
"That is a very boring part of the sport, but I think the more boring thing you play, the better you get in the sport. That is why we started working on that and looking forward to getting aggression on my receives and not just try to put the ball into play," he explained. Sathiyan said compatriot Sharath Kamal also has a very good serve and third ball attack and most of the Indians have a very good rally game.
"In India, most of the players have a good game when actually the ball gets into play. With the Asians we have realised that it does not go to that extent at all if the server or receive is not up to the mark," he said. Sathiyan, the first Indian to break into top 25 of world rankings, also said he would be training in Korea and Germany.
"Heading to the Tokyo Olympics, I will be going to Korea. It would be the first kind of initiative and we have already spoken to the Korean Federation, I will be training with the Korean national team from December 22-30. "It is the first time that an Indian player will train at the national centre of an Olympics medalist team, so I am looking forward to that. And after that, the Indian team will be training in Dusseldorf, Germany. Germany has already qualified (for the Olympics) and that is why we chose it," he added.
He said if the Indian team makes it to the top nine in the Olympics qualifiers to be held in Portugal, then it could take part in the Olympics as a team. "We have virtually qualified in singles but the event in Portugal is going to be the only one where we can make it as a team. So we have to make it in the top nine and that is a big event. There will be 64 teams taking part and if we can make it in the top nine, India will play as a team in Olympics for the first time.
"We are hoping to make history. We are number 8 in the world now. A couple of countries like China and Japan have already qualified, so we would be seeded fourth or fifth in the event and to justify our seeding, we should give our best. The way everyone is playing on the team, we are positive that we can do it."
Praising Sharath Kamal, he said the senior player helps in terms of team-bonding. "I never felt inferior and he is a good listener. He is a different person and he listens quite a lot when he plays doubles, so we are lucky to have him as a senior member of our team," he said.
"A lot of young guys playing well, Manika (Batra) is doing well and (currently) Manav (Thakker) has been one of the brightest talents, Archana (Kamath) is doing well. We are performing in every category and the respect for the Indian contingent in world TT has grown immensely," he signed off. Para-swimmer Suyash Jadhav, kayaking player Namita Chandel and blade-runner Subedar Anand Gunasekran also spoke about their experiences and goals.