Pullela Gopichand calls him Gundappa Viswanath of Indian badminton! Parupalli Kashyap speaks of him with amazing respect saying, when he moves in the court it seems he is dancing down the wicket. The whole badminton fraternity of India looks mesmerized with Ajay Jayaram’s glorious return to the court with the silver medal in the recently concluded Korea Open Super Series championship after a seven-month layoff due to a severe shoulder injury.
Jayaram who returned to his home in Bangalore said on Tuesday, “It was a noticeable comeback for me as I was little worried whether I would be able to re-establish my career after such a big gap. But I was finally able to do thanks to my coach Tom John sir as well as the great contribution from Prakash Sir (legendary Prakash Padukone) during my five-year tenure under his training.”
Jayaram who was born and brought up in Mumbai started playing badminton at the age of only four years in his school days. And his father Jayaram Gopal speaking on the occasion, said, “In those days, I noticed Ajay was being able to play drop shots in front of the nets with sheer accuracy. So I thought he must be pushed towards the game.” In 2005 Jayaram family was shifted to Bangalore and then Jayaram Gopal admitted his son to the Prakash Padukone Academy. Ajay said, “Whatever achievement in my drop shots and the deception in defending opposition’s smashes I have earned is all from Prakash sir. He used to show me how I would master the deceptive shots. And at the same time, Prakash Sir also used to advise me not to concentrate on trophies, rather trying to set focus on the perfection of my strokes.”
Along with legendary badminton player, another legendary player, though in tennis has been the idol of Ajaya Jayaram, currently ranked 32 in the World. He is Roger Federer. Ajay said, “I have keenly followed Federer’s matches as well as his practice schedule where he spends a lot of time for shadow-practice of different strokes. I also try to follow his training schedule and spend at least two hours a day for shadow training of different strokes.”
Jayaram who does not look bothered about qualification for the Olympics in Rio next year, added, “For the last five years I have training at Tom John Academy. And the beauty of his coaching is that John sir always asks me to capture the goods of all the greats in the world of badminton. So, it becomes easy for me to enrich my playing style as a whole.”
Now it is time for the 27-year-old shuttler to move on, after a gap of seven years.