At 18, PV Sindhu had not won any major title except the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold title. However, the Hyderabad shuttler had headed into her maiden World Championships in 2013 with a very little hype surrounding her participation at the premier annual badminton event.
Seeded 10th at the event, Sindhu had stunned two former world number one shuttlers from China in the third round and the quarter-final, respectively, before falling to Thailand's Ratchanok Intanon in the semi-final. She had to settle for a bronze, but the then 18-year-old showed signs of what is yet to come.
A year later in Copenhagen, Sindhu was striving to better the colour of her medal at the 2014 World Championships. The 11th seed had an impressive run to the last-four stages, but she had to once again settle for a third-place finish at the world meet. In 2015, she defeated London Olympic gold medallist as early as in the third round but failed to finish with a medal as she lost to Sung Ji Hyun of South Korea in the quarter-final.
All these years, Sindhu had been under the shadows of her senior compatriot and London Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal. However, with the Olympic silver she bagged at 2016 Rio Games, the 21-year-old emerged as badminton's new poster girl in the country.
From being a prospect, the Hyderabad shuttler went on to join the elite club of Women's singles after she rallied against the odds to clinch glory in Rio de Janeiro. And Sindhu showed the Olympic medal was no luck when she won the World Superseries Premier in China last year and finished as runner-up at Hong Kong Open.
Since then, she has always looked hungry for more. 2017 has brought her more joy. Sindhu started the year leading her team to glory at Premier Badminton League and followed it up with a title at Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold and her maiden Superseries crown at home -- India Open.
For the first time in her career, Sindhu will start a World Championships campaign being among the title favourites in Glasgow meet, starting August 21. Spurred on by recent success, the world number five, who trains under former All England champion Pullela Gopichand, says she is geared up to give it her all at the world meet.
"We have the World Championships in August. I am looking forward to it. There are still one and a half months left for the event. We have time to prepare well and I hope to give my best. Preparation wise, everything has been going well," Sindhu said, as quoted by the Times of India.
On the flipside, there will be more pressure on the young shuttler who will be expected to lead India's campaign in Glasgow. Sindhu has also suffered a blip as she has not gone past quarter-final stages of a tournament since her India Superseries win in April.
However, as her coach Gopichand says, Sindhu cannot be expected to win every time she steps on the court. While she was known for her attacking game in the past, the Hyderabad star is showcasing maturity with her improved defence and net play.
The addition of Indonesian tactician Mulyo Handoyo, who is being credited for Kidambi Srikanth's new-found consistency, will also help the top-ranked Indian shuttler in the preparation for the upcoming world meet.
Sindhu, who was known for her powerful smashes, is slowly moving towards an all-round game with her improved defence and net play. Also, the most impressive factor is the clarity of her thought process when she goes about giving it back to her opponents on the court.
"Well, the Indonesian coaches coming in has been a good development. We have 2-3 coaches from Indonesia working with us. They came in February and they have changed the training methods a bit," Sindhu added.
Also, Sindhu is known for her ability to step up in major tournaments. With the taste of success at the highest level and more experience of playing among the elite, the Indian shuttler, who is expected to be seeded among the top-five, is certainly the one to watch out for.
The absence of world number one Tai Tzu Ying, who has proved to be a hurdle to Sindhu on numerous occasions in the recent past, is also expected to clear her path to all-important final stages at the upcoming world meet.