Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia preferred to start his Sudirman Cup campaign in Nanning, China against Rio Olympic gold medalist Chen Long rather than World No. 2 Shi Yuqi in the Malaysia vs. China tie on Sunday.
“Chen Long’s performance has been unstable, but Shi Yuqi is still young and energetic,” said Lee who was also part of the Malaysian team in the 2018 Thomas Cup competition.
The 23-year-old Shi Yuqi is doing quite well this year as he had won the Swiss Open in 2019 and also ended up as the Badminton Asia Championship (BAC) runner-up, while Chen Long only emerged as runners-up at both Malaysia Masters and Malaysia Open so far this year.
“However, I’m feeling a bit disappointed as our men’s singles head coach, Misbun Sidek will not be going to Nanning with us. Instead, Indra Wijaya will be coaching us. I have practiced under him before and we have a good relationship,” added Lee.
“Misbun had advised me that my mentality should be strong when playing in a team event because the environment is very different. He also advised me not to put too much pressure on myself and just play my best,” said the 21-year-old.
Another Malaysian men’s singles player Cheam June Wei was also excited to be able to play for the Malaysian team at the biennial international badminton championship.
“I appreciate this opportunity and will give my best should the coach decide to play me in the men’s singles event,” said Cheam.
“So far I am satisfied with our preparation for the last two weeks and I am not afraid of facing world’s top players such as Shi Yuqi (China) or Kidambi Srikanth (India),” added Cheam who was part of the Malaysian 2015 Sudirman Cup squad.
The Malaysian team will depart to Nanning, China on Thursday and has named Goh Soon Huat and Chow Mei Kuan as the team captain and vice-captain.