KUALA LUMPUR: A plan is under way to toughen up back-up men’s singles shuttler Liew Daren.
And world number one Lee Chong Wei has been asked to help turn “softie” Daren into a tough nut.
National coach Tey Seu Bock believes Daren has the potential to take over Chong Wei’s place in the future.
“Daren is not tough enough on court. He has to change his attitude and be more aggressive like Chong Wei,” said Seu Bock.
“I want him to pick up some positive traits from Chong Wei like playing with more confidence,” added Seu Bock.
Daren has shown improvement in his game over the last few months. The only thing lacking is that he does not strike fear into his opponents.
In the Taiwan Open a week ago, Daren pulled off a stunning win over third seeds Lee Hyun-il of South Korea in the second round.
But hours later, he went down tamely to Thai youngster Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk.
His mixed fortunes in Taiwan saw him moving up eight rungs from 53rd to 45th in the world – his best ranking in his career so far.
“Chong Wei is really committed to help Daren. If Daren continues with his determination to change for the better, I believe he has a chance to challenge for a medal at the Indonesia SEA Games in December,” said Seu Bock.
Seu Bock added that he would also be asking chief coach Rashid Sidek to allow Daren to follow Chong Wei to all international tournaments in the future.
“Let him be Chong Wei’s shadow in the next one year. I want him to learn as much as possible from the best player in the world,” said Seu Bock.
Daren, however, will not be following Chong Wei to the Japan Open, which begins on Wednesday. Although he has qualified, he did not get the green light from the Badminton Association of Malaysia to compete.
In his absence, Malaysia will only be represented by defending champion Chong Wei.
On Chong Wei’s preparation for the Japan Open, Seu Bock said: “This will be his first tournament since the World Championships in England (where he lost to Lin Dan of China in the final).
“His condition is good and I hope he will perform well. He is not taking anything for granted.”
Top seed Chong Wei is in the same half with China’s Wang Zhengming and Denmark’s Peter-Gade Christensen while Lin Dan is in the lower half with three of his compatriots Chen Jin, Du Pengyu and reigning China Masters champion Chen Long.
For the record, Chong Wei has reached the final of all the eight individual tournaments he competed in this year. Except for the South Korea Open and the world meet, he has won the other six – Super Series Masters Finals, Malaysian Open, All-England, Indian Open, Malaysian Grand Prix Open and Indonesian Open.