Former world champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark Sunday said he has finally put his ankle injury behind him following the title win at the India Open here. After winning five titles, including the World Championship and BWF Super Series Finals in 2017, Axelsen had to undergo an ankle surgery early last year, which forced him to miss the All England Championships.
He recovered to win the Indonesia Open Super 1000 but has struggled in the second half of the year. The former world no. 1, however, made a promising start this year with a title win at the Barcelona Spain Masters and a final appearance at the All England before claiming the India Open crown."Now I can say that I have put the injury behind me," Axelsen told reporters after defeating Kidambi Srikanth in straight games in the final Sunday.
"It has taken a lot of time and Srikanth here knows how an injury can take a toll and how long it takes to come back to normal fitness and level of play. So I am just happy the way I came back."It is great to win the tournament. I don't know what to say. It is always a confident booster, especially after the All England final, it is nice to win here."
Srikanth too have battled with ankle issues for the last couple of years. Axelsen and Srikanth had a 4-3 head-to-head record before the final match with the Indian getting the better of the Danish shuttler at the 2017 Denmark Open. Asked about their on-court rivalry, Axelsen said: "Srikanth beat me in Denmark last time, so I thought it was nice of him to allow me to win here in India.
Maybe next time, it should be like I win in Denmark and he wins in India and I will be cool with that."Talking about the summit clash, Axelsen said: "It was easier to control in the first game and in the second game Srikanth stepped up. We were so close, and it is small things which makes the difference. So you never know what would have happened if Srikanth had won the second game. "You need a little bit of luck. I had a lucky net chord. That's how sports is, it is fragile."
It was after 17 months that Srikanth had reached the finals of a BWF World Tour event and the Indian said he was satisfied with the way the week has panned out for him."I'm just happy with my performance in the last week. I just want to take it the way it comes. I know I was trailing in most of the matches but somehow I wanted this kind of momentum. I wanted these kind of wins. I want to continue this form now," he said.