Bolton's Gary Fox admits he can’t wait to feel like his old self again after his heart condition reared its ugly head at the English National Badminton Championships.
After he and Ben Stawski’s men’s doubles journey had ended in the second round by number three seeds Matthew Nottingham from Macclesfield and partner Chris Coles, disaster struck for Fox.
The 23-year-old is due to have an operation in a fortnight after being diagnosed with atrial fibrillation last October, a heart condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate.
But despite this Fox was still competing in the Milton Keynes this weekend as he went for glory in both the men’s and mixed doubles events.
Fox and Sophie Brown were up against Chris Langridge and Heather Olver in their mixed doubles semi-final and after losing the first game and being down 11-7 in the second, Fox was forced to retire after feeling his heart beat irregularly.
It was a sour end to Fox’s hopes in Milton Keynes, and he insists he can’t wait to get the problem solved with it currently holding him back.
“It was about 7-3 in the second set and it was quite a big rally in which I did a lot of work, before Sophie hit a winner,” he said.
“Straight after that my heart started beating irregularly again, and the doctor had said that if it happens then I would have to pull out straight away.
“I’ve got an operation scheduled soon so there’s no point in risking it when it’s just the Nationals.”
Fox is hoping to put this latest set-back behind him, and focus on returning to competitive action once he is on the road to recovery.
“I’m just looking forward to it being fixed really because I can’t really be how I want to be on court at the minute because I’m scared of it going.
“Once it’s fixed then hopefully we’ll come back and be better than we are now.
“I don’t know what I’m going to feel like or how I’m going to react to the operation but fingers crossed I’ll be able to get fit enough to come back.”
The Nationals marks the start of a busy period for England’s badminton stars, with the Europeans and then the All England Championships coming thick and fast.