PETALING JAYA: With a packed badminton calendar, China’s top shuttlers are expected to pick and choose the tournaments to feature in this year.
But Malaysian singles coach Misbun Sidek said that world number one Lee Chong Wei does not have this luxury simply because there is now no sparring partners in the national squad good enough to match his level of play.
Misbun said that Chong We has no choice but to stick to a hectic schedule to at least maintain his standard of play. Chong Wei played in eight of the 12 Super Series tournaments last year and also featured in the Macau Open, which is a Grand Prix Gold event on the world circuit.
In total, he featured in 14 international tournaments, including the Thomas Cup qualifiers and Finals, the Asian Championships, the Beijing Olympics and the Super Series Masters Finals.
The taxing schedule took its toll on Chong Wei and he was forced out of the Hong Kong Open last December after straining his leg muscles.
In contrast, the abundance of talent in China has made it easy for Olympic champion Lin Dan to maintain his level of play.
While Lin Dan will play his first event of the year at the All-England in Birmingham next week, it is already the third for Chong Wei after the Malaysian and Korean Opens last month.
“Lin Dan played in less than 10 tournaments last year but you have to look at the quality of sparring he gets back home,” said Misbun.
“For Chong Wei, a different approach is needed. He has no choice but to go out to play one tournament every month this year if he wants to fight to keep his current status in the world rankings.
“He has no quality sparring partners at home and he has to get them in international competitions. I can only give him quality training but he has to keep playing to retain his advantage.
“He should be going for 90% of the Super Series events this year. Hopefully, he does not suffer injuries as the country also needs him for the Sudirman Cup (world mixed team championships) and World Championships this year.”
The Sudirman Cup will be held in Guangzhou in May while the World Championships will staged in Hyderabad in August.