It was a kind draw for World No 1 Lee Chong Wei as he prepares for the World Championships that commences tomorrow.
But the Malaysian, who has been in tougher situations in the past and is not looking too much into the draw.
And he will be counting on his new weapon, the Armortec 900PLC Yonex racquet, named after him.
This will be the first tournament that Chong Wei is using the specialy manufactured racquets and he hopes that it will give him the extra edge to win the crown that has eluded him in the past.
And if one were to look lower, then the blue shoes that Chong Wei wears are also specially designed for the Malaysian by his sponsors, Yonex.
Besides Chong Wei, two other players under the Yonex stable, Peter Gade and Taufik Hidayat have racquets named after them.
Chong Wei was focused while being put through his paces by coach Misbun Sidek.
“I will have to give my best. It doesn’t matter who I play, at the end of the day it’s how I play,” said Chong Wei when asked about the draw.
“It looks like I have tough opponents in each round. But this are the World Championships and upsets can happen at any time. I just have to be well prepared.”
Chong Wei could have made it as a basketball player for that was his first passion. Nevertheless a switch to badminton at the tender age of 11 saw him propel into one of the finest shuttler in this era.
“I didn’t expect to come this far. My dad encouraged me to play the sport and it was when I turned 17 that I realised that I could go really far in this sport. I thank my lucky stars for coming this far.”
While Chong Wei is rated the best player in the world, he still hungers for two elusive titles – the World Championships and the Olympics gold medal.
He came close to nailing the Olympics gold medal at the Beijing edition in 2008 but succumbed to Lin Dan in the final. His best achievement at the World Championships was the bronze medal in 2005.
His best achievement of the year is winning the All-England title – his first since participating in the prestigious tournament from 2004. He also started the year well with wins in the Korean Open and Malaysian Open.
“No Malaysian has won this tournament before and this is the best way for me to bring back the glory to my country.”
“I know I have another couple of years left and this is my time before I retire,” said Chong Wei who is looking for a shot at glory in the London 2012 Olympics.
Sun Jun. When I was growing up he was the world champion. I admired his skills and quick reflexes although he was a petite player.
Best all time player?
Yang Yang and Zhao Jian Hua of China. Also, Denmark ’s Peter Gade is another good player.
What are your strengths and weakness?
I tend to explode and it catches the opponents off guard. My weakness would be my mental strength.
Who is your best friend in the scene?
Taufik Hidayat. We’ve known each other for a long time. I’m also close to my sparring partner Chan Kwong Beng.