PLAYING at home is never easy and this factor could be China’s worst enemy.
China have never won the Thomas Cup title as hosts of the Finals and Malaysia’s singles shuttler Mohd Hafiz Hashim says the pressure to perform at home could be their Achilles heel.
China are hosting the world premier badminton event for the second time since they participated in the Finals in 1982.
In Guangzhou 10 years ago, mighty China were beaten by Malaysia in the semi-finals. In Wuhan, though, they have been hailed as the heavy favourites to win the Cup for the ninth time.
“I was in the team when China lost at home. The stadium was filled to the brim but they could not meet the nation’s expectations,” said Hafiz.
“They may go through the same fear although China boast of the best line-up in the Finals. This should give the other teams a slight advantage,” he said.
Hafiz feels that although Malaysia are seeded sixth for the Finals, they should not be tagged as no-hopers.
“In fact, I think overall our team look stronger compared to the one we had two years ago. I guess that is the interesting part about Thomas Cup Finals. Anything can happen. Even the weaker teams can survive the odds,” he added.
For the record, Malaysia and Indo-nesia have won the Thomas Cup Finals at home. Malaysia nailed it in 1992 while 13-time champions Indonesia won in 1961, 1973, 1979 and 1994.