HS Prannoy is preparing to go all out in 2018 after having a largely successful 2017 that ended with the National Championship.Prannoy had a stellar 2017, where he beat badminton stalwarts Lin Dan, Lee Chong Wei and Chen Long, reached the semi-final of French Super Series losing only to eventual winner Kidambi Srikanth and then beat Srikanth to win the Nationals in Nagpur.With all the success in the year, Prannoy finished 2017 at his career-best world No.10 in the BWF rankings.Prannoy believes Srikanth’s performances and success at the international circuit has been a great motivation and like everyone else he also aims to win some Super Series titles in the coming year.”I think everyone aims to win Super Series titles and we are striving to achieve it in a very consistent way. I think the performance from Srikanth has been really encouraging and motivating for all of us. I think, probably in the next couple of years even I’ll have couple of Super Series titles to my name,” Prannoy said in an exclusive interview with IndiaToday.in. Prannoy conceded that all the men’s singles shuttlers are extremely good friends off court and whenever they compete on court, it is all about who executes better on the given day.Lost to Srikanth in the French Open and then beating him in the Nationals, Prannoy said they cannot surprise each other because they practice together everyday and it is only that on the day of the Nationals final, Prannoy executed the plans better than Srikanth.advertisement”We play each other everyday in practice, we exactly know what’s going to come from the other side. It’s just the execution part which needs to be better on the particular day, and I think on the day of the Nationals final, I did that better than him.”Since French Open, I was playing really well and so on the day of the Nationals, probably I was better on execution part and he couldn’t really execute well. I feel I was pretty lucky to win the Nationals,” Prannoy exclaimed.National Champions 2017 !!! pic.twitter.com/i5O4b9OKkk- PRANNOY HS (@PRANNOYHSPRI) November 8, 2017The world No.10 said he didn’t really sit down and think much about the year he has had and in fact, he had never thought he would win the National Championship.He summed up his year saying it was all a learning experience — from learning periods early in the year to successful execution by the end.”I didn’t really think much. After Nationals, there was a point when I remembered that I had thought Nationals was one thing which I would never win in my life. When I went to Nagpur also, I didn’t have this thing of winning and I just went there to enjoy the matches and just to play.”The whole year has been good for me. It was a slow beginning, say from February to May but I think they were the learning periods. I sat down after May and thought that I need to miss a couple of tournament and just focus on training and I think that really helped. I frankly didn’t even think I would get into top 10 of the rankings and end being a national champion. So it all went well and I think next year is going to be good for me too,” Prannoy said.First ever victory against Lee Chong Wei today! Thank you everyone for the incredible support. Looking forward for tomorrow’s Quarterfinals! pic.twitter.com/FJhSYmxKgW- PRANNOY HS (@PRANNOYHSPRI) June 15, 2017Like most other shuttlers, Prannoy also feels that the coming year is going to be extremely tough due to the cramped BWF schedule, where they have made it compulsory for top players to participate in at least 12 Super Series events. He exclaimed that the players don’t even have time to breath.”It is tough and what she has said is absolutely correct. There is no window, we don’t even have a month in between to breath. We should at least have that time when we can have a training pattern and if we start from 60 per cent, we train and get to 100. At the moment, we have to start from 100 per cent and the body can’t take it, I would say.”He added that for younger players like PV Sindhu and Srikanth, it may be manageable but for Saina Nehwal and him, it is going to be tricky and they will have be very smart in picking tournaments.”For younger players like Sindhu and Srikanth, they can take it but my body is not like that and neither is Saina’s and it tends to break down. I think it is going to be really tough for us to schedule our tournaments and we need to be smart. We can’t run behind the rankings next year and we need to be fit for all the tournaments we chose to play. I feel it’s better not to play than just go there and lose in the first or second round. We need to go out there and play only when we are fully fit.”advertisement Prannoy said at the moment he was excited about the third season of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) and was looking forward to leading new entrants Ahmedabad Smash Masters come December 23.Prannoy played for Mumbai Rockets last season and was one of the best performers in the tournament and this time around, Prannoy was the costliest buy in the PBL auction.”Well, PBL is always great fun and yes, towards the end of the year, it is tough mentally and physically but I think we are now used to this since it’s been happening for such a long time, say last 4-5 years now. Our bodies and minds now know how it works and how we need to work. So, I think it won’t be tough. Also, the next year is going to be crucial for us, so there is no time to take rest and have a vacation or something, we just need to be on the job everyday.”EXCEPTS FROM THE INTERVIEW:Abreshmina S Quadri: I will take the name of some of your compatriots and just say whatever comes to your mind first.HS Prannoy: Alright!B Sai Praneeth – He is shyParupalli Kashyap – Good friendKidambi Srikanth – SilentSaina Nehwal – Hard workingPV Sindhu – This is tough. Sindhu is confusing. She usually stays on her own so nobody knows anything about her so she’s confusing.ASQ: Give us an insight into Pullela Gopichand’s mind.Prannoy: He’s the man behind all the success. I have been with him for the past 9 years and to nurture so many players in one centre is very tough. Everyone is performing and it takes a lot to give time to each player and he has done that all this while. He’s at the centre at 4am and there was a time when he used to give an hour each to all the players and you know, 45 minutes with Gopi sir is enough, that’s how much you learn from him.He has been incredibly motivated. He is not just happy and satisfied by the current performance, he just wants it to be better and better and you will see a lot more results in the future. He is a very smart man and he knows what is happening all around the world in the badminton circuit and stays updated with all the changes each player has done and we are trained accordingly. Our pattern of training changes every four of five months and I think that’s why we have been able to perform well.advertisement ASQ: What is your general training day like?Prannoy: Pretty ordinary. We all have training sessions like say from 8.30am to 12pm and then again from 4pm to 6.30pm. That’s how the training schedule has been for us for the past one year or so and there’s been a change like we don’t have sessions on different times of the day now and that is because Gopi sir is not available all the time. It is a lot better, we have more courts and sparring partners to feed you and each of us have been able to train for a longer period of time.ASQ: What has been the impact of singles specialist coach Mulyo Handoyo on your training?Prannoy: When Mulyo came, he had his own training schedule and his schedule was longer and it has benefitted all of us. It is not about doing long session where you get tired but about building that patience and stand on court and finish those sessions. There have been days when we were so tired that we just wanted to finish the sessions and he wanted us to reach that mental level. It really helps because in longer matches, you need that sort of focus and his sessions have helped us develop that. There are little things that he has tweaked that is helping us, for example even our off court sessions are longer now.ASQ: A few words on the juniors coming up:Prannoy: We are used to playing with the junior players in our academy but not from the Bangalore side and they have been doing well too. Yes, Lakshya has been doing well since the last year. He has got the facilities and power to get into the senior circuit and do well in men’s singles.