KUALA LUMPUR: It is no secret that doubles shuttler Lim Khim Wah’s weak link is his service.
Instead of whining about it, the diminutive Khim Wah has been spending extra hours perfecting his service so that he and his partner Goh V Shem can end Malaysia’s long wait for the men’s doubles title in the All-England from March 4-9 in Birmingham.
Last month, Khim Wah and V Shem brought great joy to the doubles department when they defeated Hong Wei-Chai Biao of China in the final of the Malaysian Open and end the country’s four-year wait for a home title.
Although they won, Khim Wah’s poor service was glaring – 10 of his services ended up in the net, much to the dismay of the home fans.
Khim Wah admitted that his service problem is due to nerves.
“I know my service is my weakness but I’m better now compared to the past. I think a lot when I’m about to serve ... I want it to be a beautiful shot and 100% perfect but nerves sometimes get the better of me,” said Khim Wah.
“At the Malaysian Open, I did okay during the semi-finals (against Angga Pratama-Rian Agung Saputra of Indonesia) but I made some errors during my first Superseries Premier final. The atmosphere inside the stadium was electrifying and it heaped a lot of pressure on me ... and I got nervous.
“I managed to overcome it and V Shem and I eventually won the title. It has given me a lot of confidence and I know that I can now manage my emotions better on court.”
In fact, it was Khim Wah’s service problem that nearly ended his partnership with V Shem previously.
V Shem was upset that his partner could not master the art of sending the shuttle across – and they broke up twice before finally deciding to put their differences aside and support one another on court.
Khim Wah is also happy that a wrist problem, which he aggravated during the Malaysian Open, has healed.
“I developed a swollen tendon on my wrist after the Malaysian Open but it’s much better now. I have scaled down my on-court training for the last few days and have been confined to practising my serves. I can go full-swing into training from Monday,” said Khim Wah.
Now that he has more or less rectified his weakness, Khim Wah is looking forward to the All-England with optimism.
The absence of two Koreans pairs – Lee Yong-dae-Yoo Yeon-seong and Kim Ki-jung-Kim Sa-rang – has thrown the men’s doubles title chase wide open.
Yong-dae and Ki-jung are serving a one-year ban for failing to notify the authorities of their whereabouts during dope tests.
“There is a chance now ... V Shem and I will do our best to win the All-England title. Our major challengers will be Mohd Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan (of Indonesia) and Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen (of Denmark),” said Khim Wah.
“Hopefully, we will get a good seeding and avoid these pairs in the early rounds. If V Shem and I get it right, we can end the seven-year wait (for the men’s doubles title),” he said.
Malaysia last won the All-England doubles title through Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong in 2007.