ODENSE (Denmark): It’s easy to forget that Ratchanok Intanon is still a teenager and just like any other 18-year-old when she is not training, competing or studying political science at the Bangkok Thonburi University.
Ratchanok however is also the women’s singles world champion – the youngest ever world champion – after beating China’s Li Xuerui to the title two months ago.
Yet she does not let that stop her from enjoying the lifestyle of a regular teenager.
“I still go to class, usually once a week because of my training schedule, and my university helps me out a lot. I get private tutors in order to catch up and so that I can graduate on time,” said Ratchanok with a smile.
“When I’m not studying or training, I like to shop, watch TV and listen to music.
“But I would really love to become the prime minister one day when I complete my badminton career. That’s why I took political science,” said Ratchanok flashing another smile.
Big ambitions aside, Ratchanok is definitely excited to make a return to competition after sitting on the sidelines since the world meet because of injury.
“I’m actually quite excited to play because I haven’t played in two months,” said Ratchanok.
“Right now my condition is fine, there is no pain and I’m definitely ready to play.”
The world No. 2 however added that since becoming world champion, the pressure for her to perform has increased notably.
“I feel the pressure a little now because people are aiming to beat me.
“But that means more people are watching me and I’m happy that there is more interest in badminton back home.
“At the end of the day, winning is great, but it really boils down to who plays the best game on the day and the Chinese still have really high standards.”
Second-seeded Ratchanok takes on New Zealand’s Michelle Chan on Wednesday in the Denmark Open and, barring any surprises, should progress to the final for another showdown with Xuerui.