SEPANG: Four-time All-England champion Lee Chong Wei returned home yesterday declaring he’s ready to go for a record 12th Malaysian Open title.
The 34-year-old world No. 1 outplayed China’s world No. 10 Shi Yuqi 21-12, 21-10 in the men’s singles final of the All-England badminton championships in Birmingham on Sunday.
And that has whetted his appetite to extend his proud record in the Malaysian Open, which will be held in Kuching from April 4-9.
The three-time Olympic silver medallist has won the Malaysian Open title 11 times since 2004. The only blots to his Malaysian Open record came when he lost to China’s Bao Chunlai in the quarter-final in 2007 and missing the 2015 edition due to a doping suspension.
“But when I go on court, the injury doesn’t bother me … I know I’m on my way back to my best.
“The All-England is one of my favourite tournaments and, having won it for the fourth time, I can feel the desire to compete still burning strongly in me.
“I’m still looking to play more … I’m definitely looking to win the Malaysian Open for the 12th time.”
His main goals for this year, however, are still the major tournaments – the Sudirman Cup in Gold Coast, Australia, from May 21-28; and the World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, from Aug 21-27.
“What motivates me more this year is to do well in the major events … we’ve never won the Sudirman Cup and also the world meet,” said Chong Wei.
And what about the 2020 Tokyo Olympics?
“It’s still too early to say … I cannot promise I’ll play. It’s better to focus on what’s important this year,” said the Penangite.
“The World Championships will be especially challenging because it’s still a few more months away … it’s important to stay motivated until then.
“It’s hard to compare the All-England to the world meet.
“I’ve won the All-England before, so maybe there wasn’t so much pressure last week.
“Since I’ve never won the world title, there’s going to be different sort of pressure on me.
“So, my preparation will be to deal with that kind of pressure.”
For now Chong Wei, who came down with fever during his flight back, is just looking for a short rest before preparing for his next tournament – the Indian Open in New Delhi from March 28-April 2.