Exclusive Interview with Sanil Shetty: Table-Tennis, life and everything in between
Sanil Shetty has always been a fighter ever since he was born. Not many people are aware of the fact that he was born with an abnormal heart condition and was given eight months to live by the doctors.
But, overcoming adversities in life and sports is one of Sanil's many attributes. The left-hander was always primed for the grander scheme of things.
We sat with Sanil in an exclusive interview to talk about his journey, love for the game, and plenty more. Here goes:
So let's start off with a routine question, when did you realize that table-tennis was your one true calling?
Well, when I won my first title in a talent search tournament in 1998. It changed my point of view towards this game and at that moment of time, I decided that this is something I would like to pursue and achieve something big for India.
How did winning a Gold at the Commonwealth Games feel like? How special it was for you?
Winning any tournament is very special for me but CWG is extra special as it comes every four years. When you stand on the podium to receive the medal and the national anthem is playing in the background gives you goosebumps and it's something you will remember for the rest of your life.
How is Achanta Sharath Kamal as a teammate?
Sharath bhaiya is one of the best teammates you can ask for. He is also an amazing team leader, who always tries to keep the team motivated during difficult times.
Did you pick something from him or his game?
Yes, I have learned one thing is that age is just a number and you just need to have the passion for the game to keep working hard to achieve your goals.
Which grip seems the most fascinating to you and which is your favorite?
All the grips have their own benefits but shakehand grip is my favorite. I feel the most confident and is pretty comfortable in it.
Who is your favorite partner to train with and play and why?
I like to train with Harmeet Desai because he is very focused during practice and also I get to learn a lot of things from him. I also won the bronze medal with him in the Men's doubles event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games held in Australia.
Your signature shot is the forehand topspin if I am correct. How did you master it? Any tips for us mere mortals?
Well, yes forehand topspin is my signature stroke. I have been trying to make it better and better for the last 20 years by putting a little extra sweat in my training
Some of the tips, which you can follow are: if you want to improve your forehand you have to play a lot of multi balls along with fitness for your core, leg, and forearm so you can generate a lot of spin and power.
Doubles/ Mixed or Singles? What does the future hold for you?
I can manage everything very well at the moment. I feel confident and fit enough to play in all the categories. Let's see what the future holds.
What profession/ field you would have been in if not for table-tennis?
So when I was small I always wanted to be an architect. So maybe you would have seen me in that field if I wasn't a paddler.
How has your journey been with the RP-SG Mavericks Kolkata in the Ultimate Table Tennis League?
My journey with RP-SG Mavericks was good because even after I was not in the best of shapes, my team always supported and motivated me.
How is franchise sport different from any national/ international competition?
Well, when it comes to franchise sports there is a different level of madness, which we miss in the national competition. So this type of event prepares you to handle pressure at a bigger competition.
Who is cooler? Left-handers or right-handers and why?
Of course, left-handers, because they have some unique charm and style in their game, which attracts people.
If a genie grants you three wishes, what would you choose?
World Championship gold, being a World Cup champion, and being an Olympic champion so I can complete my grand slam. These would be my three wishes.
What is your ultimate aim? An Olympic medal or a World Championship medal?
The Olympic medal is definitely the biggest medal there is in the field of sports. Winning a medal at the grandest stage of them all is my ultimate aim.
Sanil is a fighter and an inspiration for many as he has shown time and time again that if you are determined and passionate about what you do, nothing can come between you and your dreams. The southpaw wishes to complete his career Grand Slam and I have no doubt in my mind that he will give it his all to achieve it.
Our sincere thanks to Sanil for taking time out to answer our questions despite his busy schedule and all the very best to him in all his future endeavors.