Jakarta: Indonesia’s World No. 1 men’s doubles pair Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo/Marcus Fernaldi Gideon have won 10 BWF Superseries titles and 17 BWF World Tour titles since 2016, but they admitted achieving World No. 1 ranking was not easy and they have to work extra hard to maintain their rankings.
Even though both men have competed on many of the world’s biggest stages, but according to the two badminton stars, they said that their current status naturally placed a lot of expectations on them to perform well, thus, putting a great deal of pressure on the Indonesians.
“There’s a lot of pressure on us. Whenever we competed in any tournaments, our target would be to win the title. If we lost in the final, that would be considered as a failure,” said Gideon in a live chat session on PBSI’s Instagram.
“People’s expectations are high, especially in important tournaments. We’ll be disappointed if we lose, that’s why we have to practice harder,” said Sukamuljo.
“When we play, we only focus on the game. However, we really could feel the pressure before the game,” added Sukamuljo.
As the world’s best men’s pair, Sukamuljo/Gideon were always given the highest target, including from their sponsors. They were expected to win five titles among Super 500 to Super 1000 level tournaments in a year.
“We were given the target of winning last year’s world title and winning any medals at the 2020 Olympics. Since we didn’t win the 2019 world titles, so our targets at the Olympics were changed to winning the gold medals,” explained Sukamuljo.
When talked about their six consecutive losses to World No. 5 Hiroyuki Endo/Yuta Watanabe of Japan, Gideon looked at it as a challenge for them.
“This seemed to be a very weird situation, but it’s okay, it’s part of the competition. Other pairs also lost to us consecutively. That’s why it makes the sport more fun and challenging,” explained Gideon.