Yuzuru Hanyu opens up on his strategy for Grand Prix Final
Now that Yuzuru Hanyu has made the Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Turin, what are his plans for Italy?
Well, the double Olympic champion is being coy about it.
He might have landed a quad loop, quad Salchow, and two quad toeloops in his Grand Prix appearance at the NHK Trophy this weekend, but the Japanese skater – who turns 25 on 7 December, the day of the men's free skate in Turin – says he doesn't know what he'll include in his programs yet.
"I'm still figuring out what I will include," he said after his win in Sapporo, his fourth NHK Trophy victory.
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Hanyu, who beat France's Kevin Aymoz and Canada's Roman Sadovsky to top spot on the podium in Japan, has a broader goal in mind for when he arrives in Turin in two weeks.
"My goal is to put on a clean performance with no mistakes," he said.
"I want to be confident enough in my programs in spite of what my competitors are doing. I want to do well in the free skate especially, with clean jumps.
"But it’s not possible to always be flawless."
He wasn't quite flawless en route to winning the NHK Trophy, slightly under-rotating the end of his quadruple toeloop, triple toeloop combination in his free skate, but Hanyu said he'd achieved his main aim – avoiding injury.
"I’m happy that I was able to get through the competition, stayed healthy, had no pain and no injuries," he said.
The stage is set in Turin for a rematch against Nathan Chen, the first time the two will have competed directly against each other since Chen beat Hanyu to the world title in Saitama in March.
Chen won't be the only serious contender at the Final, which will only feature the top six skaters from the Grand Prix season in each event.
Frenchman Aymoz - who had two Grand Prix podiums this year - makes his Final debut, while there will also be appearances for Russia's European Championships silver medallists Alexander Samarin and Dmitri Aliev and China's Jin Boyang.