CHEN Long, touted as China’s future world champion, ironically looks up to World No 1 Lee Chong Wei as motivator.
The 24-year-old admitted yesterday he is grateful to Chong Wei for his success, despite having beaten the Malaysian several times.
Chong Wei’s winning attitude has been long-admired by Chen Long before the latter became an established shuttler in China.
"I admire Chong Wei’s attitude on court. He does not fear his opponents. I adopted his philosophy and have become more confident on court," said Chen Long, the World No 2, at Putra Stadium yesterday.
"As a player, I still have a lot to learn from others. Chong Wei is mentally strong and this is the one thing I must do to become a good shuttler."
Chen Long is making his second appearance in the Sudirman Cup in Kuala Lumpur following his debut two years ago in Qingdao, where hosts China won their eighth title. But he was only a reserve then and did not play a match.
Chen Long, a bronze medallist at last year’s London Olympics, however, will this time feature prominently in the absence of Lin Dan.
He opened accounts yesterday by beating India’s P. Kashyap 21-11, 21-9 in only 22 minutes in China 5-0 win in a Group IA tie.
"The responsibility is on me in the men’s singles and of course, it is going to be tough. I want to win all my matches and hopefully, it will be enough for us to lift the title," said Chen Long, a winner of 13 titles.
The Hubei-born player admitted he felt nervous at the beginning of yesterday’s match but got better after the first set.
"Everything is perfect here including the courts. I want to have a good tournament in Kuala Lumpur," he added.
Chen Long started the season by losing in the first round of the Korea Open before winning the German Open and the All England. He, however, lost to compatriot Du Pengyu in the final of the recent Asian Championships in Taiwan.