All England Open 2020: Titles are the ultimate Lakshya

Written by Shivani Naik | Updated: March 13, 2020 8:19:55 am Playing his maiden All England Open Lakshya showed some gutsy moves against former World No 1 Viktor Axelsen only to lose both the games closely. (BAI/Twitter) For Lakshya Sen, to...

All England Open 2020: Titles are the ultimate Lakshya
Written by Shivani Naik | Updated: March 13, 2020 8:19:55 am
Playing his maiden All England Open Lakshya showed some gutsy moves against former World No 1 Viktor Axelsen only to lose both the games closely. (BAI/Twitter)

For Lakshya Sen, to merely end up throwing shade on his predecessors with his exhilarating style of play, might simply not suffice. Indian badminton, pampered for a decade with tournament titles and intermittent big scalps by its men’s singles players, the emergence of a new name is a source of great glee.

Compared to Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu, India’s men’s singles contenders have had to labour to reach their own milestones; an Olympic quarterfinal, a Commonwealth Games title, a Top 5 rappel, a World No 1 brag and finally last year, a World Championship bronze, after 36 years.

Title victories are still sparse and consistency across multiple seasons still an aspiration for India’s men’s singles.  It is against this backdrop that one needs to put Lakshya Sen’s flutter at the All England into perspective: he started with an upset on Wednesday ofcourse and got under Viktor Axelsen’s skin quite often.

But the 21-17, 21-18 loss was still a straightforward straight sets win for the big Dane. And if India has to set its bar high for the 20-year-old Sen, then one will have to spell out how quickly and how much he’ll have to learn the tricks of the trade if he doesn’t want to sit smug ruling over the small pond of Indian badminton, and look for genuinely world-beating capabilities.

There’s pitfalls galore while climbing that stairway — leapfrogging to Top 30 can happen comfortably under the radar, shaving off milli-spots to reach Top 10 or 5, has not been found to be particularly easy by his predecessors.

There’s two names on the circuit – the grandly named Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka and the former All England finalist Kenichi Tago who ran some feisty campaigns, before fizzling out. It’s early days for Lakshya still in his freshman year at the seniors. But the loss to Viktor held all the pointers brought to be wary of should he want to break through the clutter and make a real mark.