KUALA LUMPUR: Shuttler Tan Boon Heong can still picture the disappointment on the face of coach Rexy Mainaky after his failure together with Koo Kien Keat to retain the All-England men’s doubles title last year.
And he feels that the best way for them to make up for it is to regain the title to present Rexy an ideal birthday gift.
The All-England begins on Wednesday and Rexy will turn 41 just a day after the prestigious event in Birmingham on March 9.
Boon Heong, who won the title in his maiden appearance with Kien Keat in 2007, said that he had extra motivation to do well in his third outing in the All-England.
“Last year was not an easy year season for the men’s doubles department. Our coach has put in a lot of work to turn things around,” said Boon Heong.
“Once again, the All-England coincides with my coach’s birthday. Rexy said it was his best birthday gift when we won the title two years ago. We let him down last year and Kien Keat and I will do our best to bring him another big birthday cheer.”
Last year, they also failed to defend the Malaysia and Switzerland Open titles in the first half of the season, They then hit the comeback trail. They won the Macau Open in October and the Super Series Masters Finals in Kota Kinabalu in December.
The 22-year-old Boon Heong added that compared to previously, they were better prepared for the challenges in the All-England this time.
“I am more experienced and focused but at the same, I have also learnt to enjoy the game. Eveything falls into place when I take a more relaxed approach,” he said.
“I went to our recent centralised camp in Kuching (last month) with the same mentality and I enjoyed it thoroughly and gained a lot from it.”
Boon Heong said that the absence of Indonesians Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan and South Korean Jung-Jae-sung, who won the title last year with Lee Yong-dae, had not made it easier on the rest of the field.
Without Jae-sung, his younger partner Yong-dae forms a scratch combination with Shin Baek-cheol.
“Anything can happen. Consistency is the key. The standard of all the top pairs are about the same and one cannot afford to have an off day,” said Boon Heong.
Boon Heong-Kien Keat are seeded third and they are in the same half of the draw as second seeds Lars Paaske-Jonas Rasmussen and Mathias Boe-Carsten Morgensen of Denmark and China’s Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng.
The other half of the draw has Malaysia’s Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif, Yong-dae-Baek-cheol, England’s Anthony Clark-Nathan Robertson and Indonesian youngsters Yonathan Suryatama Dasuki-Rian Sukmawan and Mohd Ahsan-Bona Septano.