LEE Chong Wei has had a dream start to the year but he is mindful of a China backlash in the All England in March where he expects China’s Lin Dan and Chen Long to provide him with a stern test.
Chong Wei beat arch rival Lin Dan to win the Korea Open and then accounted for Chen Long in the semi-final of the Malaysia Open which he won for the eighth time on Sunday.
The two titles come after a string of defeats Chong Wei suffered at the hands of both players towards the tail end of last year and the Malaysian said his back-to-back titles have boosted his confidence.
However, Chong Wei knows Lin Dan too well and expects him to bounce back strongly and he also expects Chen Long to be equally dangerous when trying to stop him from completing a hat-trick in the All England in Birmingham on March 6-11.
“I have had a good start and winning the Korea Open and Malaysia Open has been a huge boost. However, this doesn’t make me the clear favourite in the All England as I know Lin Dan and Chen Long will try to deny me a hat-trick,” said Chong Wei, the World No 1, during the launch of his autobiography in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
“I am the defending champion and it will be very tough for in Birmingham. My rivals will be doing plenty of video analysis and studying my game, so they will come even more prepared for the All England.
“I will have several weeks to prepare for the tournament but at the same time, there is also the Thomas Cup qualifiers next month where my role is very crucial in helping the team to make it to the final round in China in May.
“I have to give Malaysia a winning start to boost the morale of the players. The team are not very strong so I want to give my teammates a good start in all the matches.
“The Olympics and Thomas Cup are the most important events this year but my focus is on the Olympics and all my preparations will be geared towards that goal.”
Chong Wei will use the coming Chinese New Year break to launch his 199-page autobiography titled ‘Dare To Be A Champion’ which he believes will motivate children to follow in his footsteps and become champions themselves.
“The book explains the hardships I had been through to become a champion and World No 1. I hope it will be an inspiration to others to achieve greatness in the future,” added Chong Wei.
“It also expresses my gratitude to the people behind my success especially my parents who have gone through plenty of hardships to help me realise my dreams.”