KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei’s bid to end his title drought in the All-England and World Championships may have become tougher but he is ready to take the bull by the horns.
Recent results indicate that the Malaysian will have more than one genuine title contender to deal with at both the All-England in Birmingham from March 3-8 and the World Championships in Hyderabad, India from Aug 10-16.
Both these tournaments are important to Chong Wei.
Chong Wei’s main stumbling block in the past has always been China’s Olympic champion Lin Dan but, recently, others have caught up.
Chong Wei’s defeat to Peter-Gade Christensen of Denmark in the final of the Korean Open recently shows that the Dane, who is making a strong comeback following a year of injuries and illness, is back where he belongs — as one of the main contenders for major titles.
Given a little more time, South Korean Park Sung-hwan, who gave Chong Wei a tough time before losing in the quarter-finals of the Korean Open, will be another tough nut to crack.
And never rule out Indonesia’s Taufik Hidayat, who had skipped the first two Super Series in Malaysia and South Korea to be fully focused on winning the elusive All-England title.
Chong Wei, the Beijing Olympic Games silver medallist, may not have been born in the Year of the Ox but he is determined to live up to at least one of the animal’s many qualities — hard work — in a bid to move away from the chasing pack.
“Lin Dan is not the only one I have to keep an eye on. Peter-Gade’s performances show that he is also back at the top of his game,” said Chong Wei.
“This is the start of brand new year for the Chinese. Like the ox, I vow to work even harder to improve my game and be more aggressive. I know I can play better.”
Chong Wei also described the absence of his coach Misbun Sidek over the last few months as a blessing in disguise.
“I am happy that Misbun is well and back in training (last week). But, in his absence, I learnt to be independent. I am happy I was able to manage my emotion well on court,” said Chong Wei.
“The important thing is not to worry about my opponents. The problem sometimes lies in me. I need to be better focused on my game.”
Chong Wei is back home in Bukit Mertajam with his loved ones for the Chinese New Year celebration.
“This is a good break for me. I hope to take this opportunity to wish Happy Chinese New Year to my supportive fans. Hopefully, I will be able to achieve better results in the new year.”