Ratchanok's solace in defeats and her 'Mega-Watt' Smiles
A defeat is always painful to accept for anyone and Thai badminton queen Ratchanok Intanon is no exception. It is all the more painful for the 22-year-old who has surrendered not one but three Superseries titles she won last year on her to becoming world No 1.
But she is always there to meet the media for post-match press conferences or one-on-one interviews with her trademark "Mega-Watt" smiles and answers all questions thrown at her - some on her game and some even personal.
She may have slipped to No 10 in the latest BWF ranking but the former world No 1 is not too concerned with the rankings and the poor start to 2017.
As the defending the Thai ace was beaten by Korean Sung Ji-hyun in the quarter-finals in the India Open. It was another quarter-final exit in the Malaysia Open, losing to reigning Olympics and world champion Carolina Marin while the defending champion was sent packing in the first round in the Singapore Open by Japan's Sayaka Sato.
A nagging knee injury which took away six months of competitive badminton and it was an uphill task defending the three titles she won on a trot. However, Ratchanok surprised all in her "comeback" from the injury by reaching the final in the season's opener - the All-England in Birmingham in March.
Ratchanok, who won the prestigious All-England title in 2013, the year when she also became the youngest ever world champion, was beaten by Taiwan's current world No 1 Tai Tzu Ying 16-21, 20-22 in the final.
Putting the failures aside Ratchanok, breaks into smiles and her face glows that she has "achieved personal success" to take her family out of poverty in Bangkok. She vowed to give her family a "good life" and this she has done.
Come this May it will be another personal milestone for the soft- spoken Thai lass who created history by winning the world junior title three times - in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
"My family will move into a new house in Bangkok...after we hold prayers to bless the house.
It is not a big house but enough to give my family and me comfort, It has three rooms...one for my parents, one for my younger brother and one for myself," said Ratchanok.
For the record, Ratchanok bought a family car in 2012 with her earnings from her badminton career.
"I cannot describe the joy and happiness in fulfilling what I set out to do for my family as professional badminton player. There are bound to be ups and downs in my badminton career but I am ready to face the challengers."
In the same breath Ratchanok was quick to remind that the "workload" is not getting any easier in the shuttle sport which has got more competitive with the emergence of many new young players.
"For sure I will not force myself to play if my body cannot take it. I fear injury and lose months to recover," added Ratchanok, who said she was not sure of playing in the Singapore Open because of the knee injury which restricted her from giving her best in India and Malaysia.
"But after consulting my team I decided to go to Singapore."
Her next stop is the Badminton Asia Championships in Wuhan, China from April 25-30. Ratchanok is seeded sixth. Ratchanok won the Asian title in 2013.