FORMER Indonesian ace Tony Gunawan, who now resides in the United States, expressed surprise over the decision by several top players to snub the Super Series Masters Finals.
Gunawan, who partners Candra Wijaya, said that Super Series Masters Finals is not only rich in prize money but also one of major events organised by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) and that the top shuttlers have the responsibility to promote badminton by competing in such events.
"I am really surprised by the absence of top players, especially from China. The tournament offers big prize money and is obviously significant as only the top eight players or pairs are invited," said Gunawan at the Likas Indoor Stadium in Kota Kinabalu yesterday.
"As international players, we have the responsibility to promote and support badminton and we have to do it by competing in these tournaments.
"In fact, the tournament was postponed last year and many players were unhappy. But when it is staged, they decide to skip it. Hopefully, in future the event will have more top players." Gunawan, who resides in California, has an unique arrangement with Candra, who lives in Jakarta. They train separately and only get together during tournaments but have still managed to remain successful.
The 2000 Sydney Olympic champions, both 34, have slowed down in recent months but still remain a force due to their experience and superb understanding of each other's play despite not training together for more than three years. Tony-Candra are in a tough Group B with Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia, Malaysians Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong and Denmark's Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen.
Gunawan said that even reaching the semi-finals will not be easy but they will not give up.
"It is a tough group and we have to work really hard to even reach the semis. But we are here to enjoy the tournament and we will give it a go," added Gunawan.