KUALA LUMPUR: Three more tournaments within one month.
That is world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei’s commitment for this year as he seeks to end this season on a high note at the China Open in Shanghai from Nov 12-17, Hong Kong Open in Kowloon from Nov 19-24 and the Super Series Finals from Dec 11-15 in Kuala Lumpur.
“If given a choice, I would like to rest. I am however not in a situation to do so. I have been entered for the back-to-back China and Hong Kong Opens. As for the Finals, I am left with no choice but to play because it is held at home,” said Chong Wei.
It would be complete folly to expect Chong Wei to peak in all three tournaments but the Malaysian has vowed to give his best.
“I have just returned from Europe and have not even recovered from my jet lag. I started light training yesterday (Wednesday). My main focus right now is to do well in the back-to-back China and Hong Kong Opens,” he said.
He is looking for quick redemption against China’s Chen Long in the China Open, which is a Super Series Premier. It is compulsory for the top 10 players in the world to play in China.
In the draw released by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) on Tuesday, top seed Chong Wei has been grouped in the same half as Du Pengyu, Wang Zhengming and Chen Yueken of China; Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen and Hans-Kristian Vittinghus; and Thailand’s Boonsak Ponsana.
Chen Long will have a more challenging task as he is drawn with reigning French Open champion Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark, Kenichi Tago of Japan, World Championships bronze medallist Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam; and two Malaysians Liew Daren and Chong Wei Feng.
Daren will take on Jorgensen in the first round while Wei Feng starts off facing Thailand’s rising star Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk.
“The draw is similar to the one in Denmark and I will have a host of players from China as company. In Denmark, I lost to Chen Long (in the final) and in the French Open, I lost in the semi-finals (to Kenichi). It will be tough but I hope to recover from my lethargy by then.”
On Thursday, Chong Wei took the opportunity to wish all his friends and fans Happy Deepavali, adding “It will be a busy day for me on Saturday as I will be visiting all my Hindu friends”.