He may be England’s number one singles player but Rajiv Ouseph is determined to start troubling the world’s best players on a more regular basis, starting with next week’s All England Open Badminton Championships.
Ouseph is currently ranked number 22 in the world in the men’s singles, and has enjoyed a strong start to the year with victory at the Swedish Open before helping England take silver at the European Mixed Team Championships.
A regular on the international scene for almost a decade since making his England debut aged 19, Ouseph has even been as high as 11 in the world rankings.
But while he has racked up a record seven consecutive national singles, the 28-year-old is yet to crack the top ten in the world.
Britain’s leading hope when it comes to international success instead falls heavily on the shoulders of mixed doubles pairing and world number six duo Chris and Gabby Adcock.
But with the country’s badminton scene starting to show plenty of strength in depth, Ouseph is determined to join them in flying the flag on the singles front.
“We had a bit of a drop in the last couple of years but now we are slowly getting a good bunch of top badminton players together. We are looking a lot stronger,” he said.
“We have a strong doubles outfit in Chris and Gabby Adcock but we have not been as strong in the singles. It needs someone to push on and I hope I can be that person.
“The Europeans Team Championships were good for me and I managed to get a good couple of wins.
“I need to take that form into the All Englands, the world’s best players are going to be there and so there is no easy game. I need to keep my level high throughout and not let it drop.
“Playing in the All England Championships is very special. I’ve watched it since I was a young kid, it’s a big deal for the players all around the world and with it being the first big tournament of the year there’s that extra excitement.”
At last year’s All England Championships, Ouseph upset seventh seed Du Pengyu in the first round but then crashed out in straight sets to Japan’s Kento Momota.
The London 2012 Olympian has already identified consistency as a key target this time around, although with the countdown to Rio ticking ever closer, Ouseph knows he has to start putting out his best performances on the court.
“The main goal for this year will be to win my first round match but it won’t be easy. The other thing I’m aiming for is consistency as that’s something I’ve been missing at the start of the year,” he added.
“It seems only really recently we were talking about the London Games and now we’re already starting to talk about Rio.
“It’s going to be a busy period for us trying to qualify for next year’s games.
“I’m going to draw on my experience on London and hopefully improve my performances.”
© Sportsbeat 2015