Jwala Gutta’s pained relationship with Pullela Gopichand is well documented. She has often talked about how Gopichand has completely neglected the ‘doubles’ side of the sport, focussing on the development of only singles players, and alienating those who wanted to make a career in doubles.
In an interview with Indian Express, Gutta pointed out that she is still grieved by the way Gopichand functions, as his academy still doesn’t focus much on doubles. Their prime focus is on singles, which is why you see this huge disparity between the performance of singles and doubles players in the world circuit.
Speaking about her own experience, Gutta said that she never received the kind of encouragement that the current singles players receive, as Gopichand never really focused on doubles.
“Time and again, I was thrown out of the national camp which was unnecessary. First of all, we don’t have any doubles pair, I’m the national champ since 2000-01, and you are troubling me. I was never given any explanation,” said Jwala Gutta
“I kept proving myself by winning tournaments, winning matches. Doubles is completely different. It needs different attention. Singles is doing better because they are getting all the support in the world,” she added.
Jwala Gutta won the gold medal in the 2010 Commonwealth games and the bronze in the 2011 World Championships.
Gutta’s first spat with Gopichand happened way back in 2007 when she was forced to stay back in training, rather than participate in tournaments to improve her ranking. Gutta was gutted, as she knew that this kind of strategy could work in the singles, but never in doubles.
Gutta is currently on a sabbatical from the game and is working towards the development of doubles players. She hasn’t announced her retirement yet, but it looks unlikely that she will return to tour.