KUALA LUMPUR: Coach Datuk Misbun Sidek is lying sick in bed but Lee Chong Wei will keep his mind on the job to prepare well for the defence of the Malaysian Open men’s singles title at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil next week.
Misbun was re-admitted to the Tawakkal Hospital here for lung infection on Monday and can only expect to be discharged in a few days more when he regains his strength.
Misbun has been ill since returning home from pilgrimage on Dec 19. He was admitted to hospital on the same night and went home the following day. But he was unable to be with Chong Wei for the Super Series Masters Finals in Kota Kinabalu.
“It’s unfortunate that Misbun is not able to help me prepare for the Malaysian Open. But that is not a big problem even if he is unable to be with me for the tournament as I still have the other coaches (Rashid Sidek and Tey Seu Bok) to help guide me,” said Chong Wei.
“Misbun was also not around when I was gearing up and playing in the Masters Finals. And things turned out all right.”
The 27-year-old world number one visited Misbun in hospital after training on Tuesday together with his girlfriend and fellow national team shuttler, Wong Mew Choo.
“He does not have to worry about me. He has told me before to handle myself well and I have gone through this situation,” said Chong Wei, who treats Misbun like a father to him.
“I hope he recovers quickly. He also has to take care of his wife (Datin Latifah Sidek), who is also not well and is undergoing dialysis treatment for her kidneys at the same hospital. His wife needs him more than me.”
Chong Wei felt that a good way to make his coach happy is to do well in the Malaysian Open as he did in winning the Master Finals two weeks ago.
He will start as the top seed for the first time in the home Open, which begins on Jan 6. And in the absence of the top Chinese shuttlers, Chong Wei’s chances of winning back-to-back titles for the first time in his career have brightened.
He will start the defence of the title against Indonesian Andre Kurniawan Tedjono and barring a major upset, Vietnam’s Tien Minh Nguyen will be his likely second-round opponent. In his quarter are Indonesian Simon Santoso and Japanese Sho Sasaki.
The semi-final could see a repeat of the Masters final against Dane Peter-Gade Christensen.
The other half of the draw has second seed Sony Dwi Kuncoro and his Indonesian compatriot and former Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat.
“I hope to live up to expectations but it will not be an easy task. I am expecting every match to be tough as everyone are by now familiar with how I play,” said Chong Wei.
For the record, it will be Chong Wei’s fifth Malaysian Open title if he succeeds next Sunday. The Malayan or Malaysian with the most number of wins to his name in the men’s singles was the late Wong Peng Soon, who emerged as the champion eight times between 1940-1953.