While spending hours toiling away at high intensity on the training court may not be the most appealing of prospects, badminton player Rajiv Ouseph knows the hard grind will be worth it if the results start to flow.
Over the years Ouseph has gained a reputation for rising to the challenge of a big match or tournament.
At the 2014 All England Open Badminton Championships, he shocked Chinese seventh seed Du Pengyu in the first round.
While this year he achieved one of his biggest wins to date when he knocked out third seed Son Wan-Ho at the same stage before eventually exiting at the quarter-finals.
A multiple national singles winner, Ouseph took singles silver and mixed team bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi before adding a second silver in the team event last year in Glasgow.
It promises to be another busy year with qualification for Rio 2016 opening earlier this month.
But while dominating on the domestic scene, Ouseph is determined to leave no stone unturned in his bid to establish himself as a regular threat the international.
“I think it’s about how much pressure you put on yourself in training and trying to be a bit more intense, trying to push yourself a little bit faster and further, trying to hit that extra shot back,” he said.
“For me I’ve always been quite comfortable playing in tournaments, it’s kind of in training where I need help pushing myself so that’s what we’ve been working on.”
“Getting to the quarter finals in the All England was really pleasing, for me it was the best I’ve done in a big tournament like that so it’s given me a taste of what it’s like to compete well on the big stage.
“What I need to do now is try to do that week in week out, which is the next test because I’ve been able to produce one off matches where I’ve done well but doing that consistency is what I need.
“There’s no reason I can’t produce that, I’ve beaten a guy in the top four already this year and pushed another one very close so it’s just about reproducing that performance.”
This season has also seen Ouseph take part in the first ever National Badminton League, helping Team Derby through to the play-offs.
His participation has not been limited to the court either, with a stint in the commentary box,including narrating on his teammate and girlfriend Kate Robertshaw.
Robertshaw was also a member of the silver-medal winning England team at Glasgow 2014 and Ouseph admits he had to tread a careful path to avoid repercussions later on.
“The commentary was a bit of a different experience to be honest, watching the match and trying to find faults and weaknesses with your own team was quite hard,” he added.
“It was also hard to stay neutral and then my girlfriend plays for Team Derby so commentating on that match was definitely an experience.
“We’re quite separate in the sense that I play singles and she’s doubles but we’re still together a lot.
“I find it quite hard to watch her and I think she’s the same because any kind of bad shot we’re like ‘oh, why you doing that’.
“You can understand because you’ve been on court and you know what it’s like and you would think you empathise because of that but it’s just worse, you just get all angry.
“But I don’t tend to get too worked up over things, we are quite understanding and know when it’s time to relax.”
© Sportsbeat 2015