‘The Day Begins at 4 am’: Sneak Peak Into Pullela Gopichand’s Home

Gopichand’s son Sai Vishnu was seen at the All India Junior Ranking Badminton Tournament in Chandigarh on Tuesday.

4 min read
File photo of Pullela Gopichand.

Pullela Gopichand has helped India produce some of its finest badminton players in recent times. The likes of Kidambi Srikanth, Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu have all become champions under the guidance of the former All England Open champion.

However, incidentally, there are two badminton players on their way to the professional circuit from Gopichand’s house. The coach number one’s children Gayatri (aged 15) and Sai Vishnu (aged 13) are coming up the ranks in the various categories in junior badminton.

Gopichand’s son Sai Vishnu was playing at the All India Junior Ranking Badminton Tournament in Chandigarh on Tuesday. Nobody knew who he was until the result of his match was read out, according to The Indian Express. Once the announcer said Pullela Sai Vishnu, all the players (30) at the stadium were aware of who Sai Vishnu is.

This is Vishnu’s second U-17 national ranking competition.

Vishnu went for the tournament along with his grandmother Subbaravamma and coach Anil Kumar. While speaking to The Indian Express, Subbaravamma expressed that they come from a very close-knit family.

We are a close-knit family and our lives revolve around badminton. I treat Gayatri and Vishnu the same way I treated Gopi in his younger days.
Subbaravamma told The Indian Express

Gayatri is progressing at a brisk pace. She made it to the pre-quarter-finals of the World Junior Badminton Championship in Indonesia in October.

Vishnu, on the other hand, is playing his second U-17 competition. He lost on the second round in his first U-17 tournament, which was held in Chennai. However, the 13-year-old has won three doubles tournaments in the U-15 category.

Gopichand’s Career-Threatening Injury

While talking about doubles, Subbaravamma shared a story about how once Gopichand got injured while playing a doubles match.

It was a very bad injury and nobody thought Gopi would make a comeback. But Gopi would always tell me, ‘Amma I will come back and win again’. I still cry when I hear about that. Two days back, somebody came to the academy and mentioned Dr Ashok Rajgopal, who operated on him. And that made me cry. 
Subbaravamma told The Indian Express

After the severe injury, Gopichand’s mother accompanied him for all tournaments.

After the injury, I started travelling with Gopi as I could not sit at home worrying about him. But we have never stopped Vishnu or Gayatri from playing doubles. Till they are 17 or 19, they can play both singles and doubles, and after that, depending on the coaches’ consultation, they will choose.
Subbaravamma told The Indian Express

The Day Begins at 4 am

The Indian Express reported that the day in Gopichand family’s house begins at 4am. Gopichand and his wife PVV Lakshmi start getting the academy ready, then Gayatri and Vishnu begin practicing at 5am. Gopichand’s mother starts working at the academy at 8am.

Since, Gopichand is always moving around with the Indian players, he doesn’t get a lot of time with his children.

Their parents are spending more time on court than at home, and Gopi is not able to spend much time with them. It is a problem for them, and a 100 percent disadvantage. When Gopi is free, he usually wants to play other sports with them or watches movies with them at home. He says let them enjoy the sport. My husband (Pullela SC Bose) is the one who follows their matches.
Subbaravamma told The Indian Express

Gopichand Never Talks About His All England Open Win

Vishnu said that he has watched his father’s All England Open victory on YouTube, but Gopichand never talks about probably the highest point of his career.

I have watched some videos of my father on YouTube when he won the All England Open. Although he never talks about it, I watch the videos whenever I am free. Gayatri and I play against each other twice a week, and currently, she wins 70 percent of the matches. I tell her I will win more in the future. Playing mixed doubles with her is a ‘no’ from my side.
Subbaravamma told The Indian Express

At First, Gopichand Played Cricket

Subbaravamma expressed that Gopichand first picked up the cricket bat before mastering the art of badminton.

He would play gully cricket and break window panes in our street. Initially, we wanted them to play tennis, but it was very expensive. My sister was a badminton player and we decided to send Gopi and Raja Shekhar (Gopichand’s elder brother) for badminton.
Subbaravamma told The Indian Express

Later, Raja Shekhar became an electronic engineer and moved to the United States of America.

Vishnu’s coach Anil Kumar explained to The Indian Express how he has grown in the last five years.

We wanted him to play in the U-17 category this year. His strength has been the deceptive shots, which he’s worked on over the last two years. He lacked some control earlier, but he’s getting better now.
Anil Kumar told The Indian Express

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