Finishing 2023 as World No.1 is the goal: Satwik-Chirag

– Boria Majumdar

“They have a complete game and are surely going to be the team to watch out for in the next few years. If you check, there are few like them around the world. They have the physical strength to hit the big smashes, they have the defence and age is on their side. They will only get better. And having played in Tokyo and knowing what it is all about they will surely be one of our best bets for Paris”, said Pullela Gopichand when I asked him about Satwik and Chirag and how he sees them shaping up in the next two years.

Between 2021 and 2022, Satwik and Chirag have become a force to reckon with globally. They had the talent but the belief that they can win at the big stage and have impact have come in the last one year. 2 super series titles, the incredible Thomas Cup win and also the CWG gold, it has been a fantastic year for India’s premier doubles pair.


They are Revsportz athletes of the year Male.

In this conversation with Boria Majumdar on the show Backstage With Boria, Chirag and Satwik opened up on their plans and the goal of becoming the world’s number one doubles team.

Boria- You both had a fantastic year. The first question I want to ask is what is working for you as a pair and how can you get even better in 2023?

Chirag- For the longest time doubles was ignored in Indian badminton. It was all about singles and hardly any real attention was given to doubles. Unlike in some other sports, doubles in badminton is as important and as competitive as singles, and we in India have taken long to realise this. In fact, this is where Gopichand made the maximum difference. He was able to convince the country about the importance of doubles, get focus back on it and now we have all the facilities we need to further improve our game. Mathias Boe, our specialised doubles coach and one who has been with us all through, has made a serious difference. All this has helped us get better at key points.

Boria- May I say that the journey of SAT-CHI, however, isn’t complete. While you have won the French Open Super Series, it is important to note that you have not yet been able to beat the Minions in 11 attempts and have a 0-7 record against the Malaysian pair of Cho and Shia. Do you both think about it?

Satwik- We are aware that we haven’t won against these two pairs and we certainly speak about them. What we can say is it is a matter of time before we do this. It is not something that really bothers us. Nor is there a kind of mental block. We know we have the game to beat them and sooner than later we will. In fact in 2023 one of the things is to do this and put the issue to rest once and for all.

Boria-How are you both in your personal lives and do you plan things together in your private time as well?

Chirag- What works for us is we are very different people and yet very similar. We travel and stay together and yet our habits and likes and dislikes are profoundly different. While I am outgoing and flamboyant, Satwik, his Paris dance notwithstanding, is an introvert. While Satwik prefers Indian food, I love Japanese and other global cuisines. We either go to a food court where all options are available or one of us eats first while the other offers company and then go to a place where the other gets his preferred food. Most importantly we are there for each other on bad days. If you are playing doubles the first thing is you can’t blame your partner for an off day. You win together and you lose together. You need to take it in your chin and move on. Things won’t go well for you everyday and you need to understand that as sportspeople.

Boria- So Satwik with the Asian Games besides all the other important events lined up for this year how are you and Chirag looking forward to it?

Satwik- As long as are able to maintain their fitness and stay focused, we are ready for any event. In Tokyo we came close by beating the famed Chinese Taipei pair in the very first match of the competition and it was sheer bad luck that we had to bow out having won the same number of matches as the two other teams in the group. In fact, the Taipei pair went on to win gold, proof of how close the competition was. We know we are ready. We are in the best mental frame. We want to be the world number 1 team and win a medal in Paris for India and we won’t stop till we achieve these dreams.

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