Rahayu was paired with Ramadhanti in anticipation of her Olympic gold-winning partner Greysia Polii’s retirement, and in their first two months together, the Indonesians won three of the six tournaments they took part in and finished runners-up in one.
Their next title, however, would not come for another 14 months.
In a refreshingly candid revelation following success at VICTOR Hong Kong Open 2023 on Sunday, Rahayu acknowledged the reason that hindered their progress after a promising takeoff.
“We massively declined, we stopped trusting each other,” said the 25-year-old. “But we had the desire to get out of the rut so we started looking for solutions. We had heart-to-heart conversations on what we should and needed to do. We realised our ego held us back and we had to put it aside and improve the way we communicated.
“We took time to get to know each other better and went into the World Championships in a much stronger state. We communicated better and were more open with one another and we were able to bring the best out of the pairing.”
The result of that soul-searching period was returning trust and confidence, which landed them a podium finish at the World Championships in Copenhagen last month. The world No.7s also became the first women’s pair from Indonesia in 28 years to win silver at the event.
“We have so much faith in each other now. We are more solid, more confident,” said Rahayu.
In winning in Hong Kong, they netted another first for their country; no Indonesians had won women’s doubles in the competition’s 41-year history before Sunday.
The way the final against Pearly Tan/Thinaah Muralitharan was salvaged from a losing position – they were a match point down having trailed for most of the second game – embellished where Rahayu/Ramadhanti are as a tandem.
“(Now) when one is down, the other lifts that person up. When I make mistakes or I’m under pressure, or when I lose confidence, I need her to motivate me as well,” said Rahayu.
In agreement, Ramadhanti added: “(Her pep talks) helped me a lot. On court, there’s three of us including the coach, but your partner is the closest to you. So we must work together.”
With their troubles behind them, and clarity of thought restored, Rahayu/Ramadhanti are raring to go on a new mazy run, starting with their Asian Games debut in Hangzhou, China next week.