Kidambi Srikanth said the game has become very physical and he needs to match new fitness standards if wants to achieve his goal of playing finals consistently and competing at the Tokyo Olympics.
Srikanth said his fitness level of 2017 – when he won four titles – is not enough to get results now.
“My goal is to play a lot of finals,” Srikanth said after outwitting fellow Indian B Sai Praneeth 21-23 21-11 21-19 in a 62-minute pulsating contest to finally snap his series of quarterfinal finishes.
“Players have become much fitter since 2017, they have grown from there. If I’m as fit as I was in 2017, I don’t think that’s enough for 2019.”
Asked about his progress, Srikanth said, “I’ve grown from 2017, I became world no.1, I’ve won a commonwealth medal, I’m thinking about 2020 now.
“It’s about doing well at the Olympics for me. It’s a month from now, the qualification is going to start – it’s about improving my fitness and doing well at the Olympics.”
Talking about his close match with Praneeth, the former world no 1, said: “After losing the first set and being 7-1 down in the second to coming back in the lead with 8-7 was the turning point.
“After 1-1, I gave him too many one-stroke points and there were no rallies so I thought of building rallies and fight for every point.
“When you play with a fellow player, it’s definitely going to be this close and a bit of luck and few important point in the end makes the difference. I was just happy with the way I played.”
Srikanth will face China’s Huang Yuxiang for a place in the final.