India's Kidambi Srikanth has admitted that he must have a strong showing at the China and Hong Kong Opens if he is to qualify for the season-ending Superseries Final in Dubai.
Srikanth is currently among the top eight shuttlers in the world who will compete in the event, but should he falter in the two upcoming Superseries events he knows that his spot will be in jeopardy.
For Srikanth, the points on offer in the last two Superseries tournaments before the Finals will also have a major impact on his qualification for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
"We only have two more tournaments left in China and Hong Kong and I will have to give it my best if I am to play here in Dubai,” he told reporters during a visit to Dubai on Tuesday. “I’m desperate to come back and earn the points needed to get into next year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, but obviously everyone will be thinking the same thing, so it’s tough.
"I do feel pressure but to get on top of that you need to perform, that’s the ultimate thing you need to do as a sportsman and I’m looking forward to doing just that.
"It’s all mental now, I can’t change the way I play or the amount of training I’ve done, everything I do is enough, I just need to be mentally strong ahead of these crucial moments."
The 22-year-old revealed that he is drawing inspiration and confidence from the fact that he performed superbly at the China Open last year when he won the event after beating Lin Dan in the final. His run of good form extended into the Hong Kong Open and World Superseries Finals, where he reached the semi-finals in both tournaments before being beaten by world number one Chen Long.
"There may be crucial events coming up, but I won the China Open last year and made the semi-finals in Hong Kong in 2014, so I’m confident heading into these last two events," he said. "The first thing I want to do now is qualify for Dubai and if I qualify I will be looking to do better than the semi-finals."
Srikanth added that it would be a dream come true if he were to qualify for the Olympics and win gold in Rio de Janeiro.
"It’s definitely the biggest thing in badminton to win that Olympic medal," he said. "If someone says the name Srikanth I want them to think of someone who has achieved wins in all tournaments and the Olympic medal is the ultimate."