It was a much-awaited comeback for PV Sindhu in Kuala Lumpur to start off the 2023 season. Of course, after a long break due to injury and rehab, it wasn’t the easiest way to return to high level action… facing her good friend and great on-court rival Carolina Marin in the opening round of the Malaysia Open Super 1000.
The match ended in another defeat for Sindhu that pushed the head-to-head to 10-5 in Marin’s favour, but the performance from the Indian was impressive nonetheless, objectively speaking. Marin is not easy to face being close to a peak, but here was Sindhu at the foothills of a journey back to a high level. To come back from a slow start and push Marin to a decider, before eventually bowing out in three games… all said and done it was a good effort from Sindhu. There wasn’t any worrying sign.
Or so most of us thought. But Sindhu’s coach Park Tae Sang surprised many with his emotional note on Instagram. “Returned after 5 months. And unfortunate results. everyone, her lack is my fault as a coach,” he wrote. “We will prepare for the Indian Open in Delhi next week. Please encourage @pvsindhu1 rather than reprimand.”
And then he…