From Boston to Hyderabad to again within the US: Srivedya leaves India in quest for Olympics

Born in Boston. Skilled in India. Appeared in Indian colors, however it all modified for Srivedya Gurazada in October final yr, when she determined to modify to the USA.

When a 19-year-old Gurazada turned up on the 2022 India Open, she nonetheless had the Indian tricolour beside her identify. Gurazada had partnered Ishika Jaiswal of the US, making a uncommon badminton doubles mixture of two gamers hailing from totally different nations. In truth, Gurazada and Jaiswal have been the one pairing of such type throughout all doubles classes on the India Open within the final version. This yr, the depend for a similar was again to zero as Gurazada formally represented the USA.

The pair had a very good begin to the yr on the Malaysia Open – its first Tremendous 750 event – the place it defeated a a lot senior Spanish duo of Clara Azurmendi and Beatriz Corrales in three video games. In New Delhi, nevertheless, Gurazada and Jaiswal have been drawn with third-seeded pair Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee-yong of South Korea; the younger duo misplaced 9-21, 10-21. However at this stage of her profession, Gurazada is joyful to tackle the gamers from increased rankings and accumulating a wealth of expertise.

Speaking to Hindustan Instances in an unique chat in the course of the India Open, Gurazada opens up on why she made the swap, the challenges of taking part in badminton in the USA, and targets for this yr:

How was the expertise of taking part in on the India Open this yr?

It was actually good. It is the second time I am taking part in on the India Open, however the final time once I was right here, there have been no followers. That is the first-time taking part in India Open with the group. It is a totally different feeling. Regardless that I’ve performed (with followers) within the US, I am lucky to have performed in entrance of the house crowd.

Inform us about your swap to the USA. What prompted the choice?

It occurred in round October 2022. I made the swap as a result of I used to be born in Boston, that makes me a US citizen. And we shifted to India once I was 3-4 years outdated. I began taking part in badminton in India and I educated on the Chetan Anand academy. He requested me to play some tournaments in India, so I began taking part in right here. However the factor is, I can not signify India on the Olympics. I do not maintain the citizenship, in order that’s why I made the swap. It should assist me within the Olympic qualification.

Once I was taking part in for India, I didn’t get to follow with the Indian group. There have been instances we have been practising (with Indian gamers) in the course of the tournaments, however not a lot. The factor is, although I performed for India, I sparred hardly ever with the Indian group.

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The swap, particularly to the US, have to be an enormous change for you…

Once I shifted to the US, it wasn’t the identical. Regardless that I used to be an impartial participant in India, I did have gamers sparring with us now and again. Once I shifted to the US… the requirements of the Indian gamers are absurd. Whenever you examine them, you are feeling there’s a distinction. We attempt to follow within the academy in India, she (Jaiswal) involves the academy and we practice right here. However then once more, there’s a distinction between sparring with native gamers and the nationwide gamers. That’s the place we discover the large hole.

Did you take into account making use of for an Indian citizenship?

“No. I wished to maneuver again to the US in some unspecified time in the future in my life. There’s some politics too, you don’t see it on the floor however it’s there within the system. There’s politics within the US too, it’s in every single place primarily, however right here, since there are lots of people, you possibly can visibly see it.

Badminton isn’t fairly as common within the US as it’s in India. How onerous was it to adapt?

I have been practising and staying in India although I have been taking part in for the US. I performed some tournaments on the Pan-American circuit as nicely. In US, we do not have a group. Once we journey, we discover ourselves taking part in on particular person sponsorships. They cowl all of our bills. We have now an affiliation however we do not have a group, so it is a bit of tough for us to spar with different gamers as a result of it is solely the two-three of us.

So, I feel that may be a flaw within the system. Like in India, we now have 10,000 gamers combating. We do not have that form of amount within the US.

Your companion Ishika Jaiswal has been taking part in with the US for the reason that starting of her profession, however you’ve partnered together with her even when you have been representing India. How did you two begin taking part in collectively?

I performed the junior nationals in 2019. She performed too. We performed in opposition to one another and he or she gained in opposition to me and my companion. After that, Covid occurred. In 2021, she reached out to me asking whether or not I’d play together with her in tournaments and attempt to work issues out. I used to be already taking part in within the tournaments she proposed and that’s how we began taking part in. In some tournaments the place I didn’t play together with her, I performed with Poorvisha (S. Ram). She gave me a heads up upfront for that.

You went to second spherical on the Malaysia Open final week. Your doubles rating is 34 for the time being. What are your targets this yr?

I might say the goal for now could be to interrupt into top-20. Play higher, carry out higher, and go to the top-20. Win some challengers in 100s possibly, and slowly get to the following stage. We do really feel there is a hole as a result of we do not follow collectively. She lives within the US and I reside in India. There is a hole, and clearly there is a distinction in singles and doubles follow. However I do really feel assured that we are going to do nicely.

Are you planning on shifting to US in some unspecified time in the future?

Possibly. I see myself doing that. Possibly not now, however in two or three years.

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Did you will have interactions with gamers from Indian group once you performed right here?

I did not have a lot of an interplay with them group as a result of I wasn’t the a part of the group throughout all India occasions as nicely. I used to be an impartial participant. I did had dialog with N Sikki Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa after we performed in Indonesia. It was very helpful. One senior participant who helped me quite a bit with publicity is Poorvisha S Ram (former world no.30). Once I performed in Cameroon and Bangalore together with her, I learnt quite a bit on how I ought to act on courtroom. She retains speaking to me about find out how to flip a nasty day into a very good day. We’re nonetheless in contact and he or she has been a help system for me.

You additionally play in singles. What do you discover most comfy?

I play doubles extra freely than singles however I get pleasure from taking part in each of them. So long as I can play singles, I’ll try this. I want to play in large tournaments however my rating would not let me get into these for now. I will play within the 100s and I hope to interrupt into the 750 as nicely. I am planning on taking part in the challengers and the 200s as nicely.

Who did you idolize rising up?

My idol is my coach, Chetan Anand. Ever since I began badminton, I’ve performed below him. He stays calm and composed on the courtroom and that is one thing to study. As a result of it is very tough to not present feelings on the courtroom. Usually, as a girl’s participant, I idolize Carolina (Marin). I like her aggression and willpower to make comebacks even on her unhealthy days.

What’s subsequent for you after India Open?

“We have now despatched an entry to the German Open. So, if we get into the event, it is going to be the Germany after which, All England.

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