Satwiksairaj Rankireddy has recovered from Covid-19 after he was diagnosed with the disease on 27 August. He is all set to join the national team at the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy next week.

The 20-year-old shared his Covid-19 experience through ESPN ahead of returning to training.

Rankireddy said his positive Covid-19 result was a surprise since he was asymptomatic. He said, “I had literally no symptoms. No headache, sore throat or fever. I had sense of loss of smell around the fourth day but that too returned after a day.”

He went into self isolation ever since his diagnosis. He said he lost track of his fitness since his parents just fed him. His routine during recovery consited of movie marathons, video games and homemade food.

He said, “I didn’t dare check my weight and whatever fitness I’d done over the past six months vanished in 20 days.”

When he tested positive again after the stipulated 14-day period he said it was a huge shock for him. He said, “I was scared for my family and friends. Luckily, no one else contracted it.” He said his mother was extremely careful whenever he came out of his room.

“Earlier, I’d just leave for practice. But now when I’m at the door my mother checks with me if I’m wearing a mask, gloves and carrying a sanitizer.” – Rankireddy.

Partner Chirag Shetty.

“He calls and texts me every day. If he’s not on the phone with me, he’s speaking to my brother, whom he’s also quite close to and asking him what I’m up to. If I don’t pick up the phone, I’ll find three missed calls and four unread messages. He’s been caring through this whole phase. It’s almost like I have a girlfriend!”

Back to training.

Rankireddy has resumed his training on a concrete court nearby his house. However, he expressed that he still felt the effect of the virus in his body. He said, “If I stand for 10 minutes, I feel tired and have to sit down. Initially, I couldn’t even hit a toss. I’ve recovered, but there’s still some weakness.

On court, I’m fine. But my body doesn’t feel great. I can’t seem to do off-court training…I’m taking it slow, going for walks so I get fresh air and trying to gain strength.”

Returning to competition.

Rankireddy said he wanted to enter the Denmark Open (13-18 October), but head coach Pullela Gopichand suggested he should skip it and focused on getting back into shape rather than rushing to the tournament.

Rankireddy said that he understood that his partner Shetty wanted to play, but Shetty was understanding of the situation. He said, “As partners, we are always looking out for each other.” The pair is set to reunite next week at the national training center. Rankireddy joked that Shetty would be the only one who would not have the option of staying away from him.

He added that since he was the only one who contracted the virus everyone would be careful around him. He said, “Once I return to Hyderabad I have a feeling all the outdoor errands are going to fall on me.” (laughs)