THE weather is bone-chilling cold in Birmingham. But world No.1 men singles shuttler Lee Chong Wei has raised the temperature for the All-England by saying he is fed-up of hearing Lin Dan’s name.
Defending champion Lin Dan of China is seen as the top seeded Chong Wei’s major stumbling block in his bid to win his first All-England title.
Barring any upsets, Chong Wei and second seed Lin Dan are expected to cross swords in the final once again.
Lin Dan has reached the All-England final for the last six years and won four of them (2004, 2006, 2007 and 2009). Last year, he bulldozed past Chong Wei in the final.
Despite holding on to the No.1 spot for more than one year, Chong Wei cannot deny that he is still living in the shadows of three-time world champion Lin Dan
And the centenary All-England tournament will probably be a good stage for Chong Wei to take the first step to end his nemesis’ run.
Yesterday, Chong Wei said that too much have been said about his rivalry with Lin Dan.
“At this stage, I am a little fed-up hearing his name. People wants to see me in the final here with Lin Dan,” said Chong Wei.
“Pressure like this is something that a player has to deal with. It will be great if I can do well – and even perform better than Lin Dan but for now, I just want to stay focused here.
“I cannot afford to make the mistake of under estimating other players in the early stage. Everyone wants to do well here and it will be a challenge from the first day onwards,” said Chong Wei.
In order to make the final, Chong Wei will have to overcome Indonesia and Denmark’s best two players – Taufik Hidayat, Sony Dwi Kuncoro, Peter-Gade Christensen and Jan O Jorgensen – who are all in his top half of the draw.
Lin Dan also has his own set of challenges in the lower half of the draw that has lumped together reigning German Open champion Bao Chunlai and Chen Jin of China, Indonesia’s Simon Santoso and Malaysia’s Mohd Hafiz Hashim.
Chong Wei said that he had been adjusting to the cold weather since arriving here on Saturday.
“I have been competing in the All-England since 2003 but this is the coldest that I have experienced so far,” said Chong Wei.
“But I am have being sleeping well and get the proper rest. I am spending a longer time in warm-up sessions. I think, all this comes with experience.
“During my first outing here (seven years ago), I got sick because I did not take care of myself. Hopefully, I will be in good condition throughout the tournament.”
For the record, Malaysia last won the All-England singles title through Mohd Hafiz Hashim at the 2003 edition.