BUKIT JALIL: This could be a bountiful year indeed for men’s singles shuttler Liew Daren – if his mother and the Chinese horoscope are to be believed!
Daren said that his mother, Woo Yoke Bee, believes that the year 2014 would see him “making lots of money”.
And the shuttler, who doesn’t believe in horoscopes, hopes that his mother is right, though.
“According to the Chinese calendar, this is the year of the horse. I was born in the year of the rabbit and my mother told me that ‘rabbits’ will do well this year.
“I do not believe all this but, hopefully, she is right,” he laughed.
The 26-year-old Daren could do with some good fortune, having gone through a bad patch towards the tailend of last year.
Injuries have ruled him out of action for some time and his world ranking has plunged from No. 10 to No. 29. He suffered an ankle injury during the Denmark Open in October and then pulled a hamstring during the China Open in November.
He is now getting ready for the Malaysian Open, which starts on Wednesday at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
“All I want this year is to be injury-free...” said Daren after his first training session at the venue for the Super Series Premier yesterday.
“I started well last year ... but the unexpected injuries held me back. It’s not easy to make a comeback because the fear of aggravating the injury is always there. Hopefully, I will be able to overcome this fear at the Malaysian Open.”
Daren, who reached the quarter-finals of the Malaysian Open last year, hopes to raise his game and support world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei in winning honours for the country.
On Friday, Chong Wei had bemoaned the fact that none of the second stringers have stepped up their game. He also told them to get out of their comfort zones.
“I can understand his frustration. I am still far behind Chong Wei but, trust me, I’m doing my best to step up to the plate. I believe that there has been a slight improvement but I need to push myself even harder,” said Daren.
“For now, I’ll focus on improving my world ranking. It’ll be good if I can break into the top 20 by April so that it will give the men’s team a better overall ranking ahead of the Thomas Cup Finals in May.”
Only the top 12 teams, based on the singles and doubles players’ combined ranking points, will feature in the Thomas Cup Finals this year.
In the Malaysian Open, Daren has a tricky first-round tie, having been drawn against China’s Du Pengyu – a player he has yet to beat.
If he progresses, he may face top seed and nine-time home champion Chong Wei in the quarter-finals.