KUALA LUMPUR: National badminton ace Lee Chong Wei knows all about the struggles of making a comeback after a long break.
That’s probably why he was sympathetic towards arch-enemy Lin Dan (pic), who crashed out of the men’s singles second round at the German Open on Thursday.
“It’s not easy to make a comeback after a long break … I understand Lin Dan’s struggles to get back the tournament feeling,” said Chong Wei, who was himself out of the game for eight months due to a doping suspension in 2015.
Five-time world champion Lin Dan, who went down 10-21, 16-21 to Emil Holst of Denmark in the second-tier tournament on Thursday, was playing in only his first tournament since the Rio Olympic Games last August.
In Rio, the two-time Olympic champion from China lost to Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in the bronze medal playoff.
World No. 6 Lin Dan will be hoping to perform way better at the All-England in Birmingham beginning next Wednesday.
The All-England will also be Chong Wei’s first international outing since he crashed out in the quarter-finals of the World Superseries Finals in Dubai last December.
And Chong Wei, the world No. 1, expects to struggle just like Lin Dan in Birmingham.
“It’s my first tournament after a long break and I’m coming back from a knee injury. It’ll be a challenge to get that tournament feeling again,” he admitted.
“I hope to get off to a confident start and show progress in every match,” said Chong Wei, who will take on a qualifier in the opening round.
Before that, the 34-year-old Chong Wei has some ambassadorial duties to fulfil under the Legends’ Vision Tour, which is organised by Yonex.
Chong Wei, Lin Dan, South Korean Lee Yong-dae, Denmark’s Peter-Gade Christensen and Indonesian Taufik Hidayat will join hands to promote the game by holding exhibition matches and conducting coaching clinics with local badminton enthusiasts.
“It’s great to come together as a team and encourage junior players. Our first stop is England … we will also go to France, India and Japan this year,” said Chong Wei.
“We want to bring badminton to countries where the game is not widely played. We want more people to play badminton. We’ll do our part to make sure that badminton always remains an Olympic sport,” said the three-time Olympic silver medallists.
Chong Wei will leave for Birmingham tonight with Zulfadli Zulkiffli, Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong, Teo Ee Yi-Ong Yew Sin, Vivian Hoo-Woon Khe Wei, Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying and Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing.