Lee Chong Wei: 'I’m already here in Birmingham ... there is no reason for me to pull out. I might as well go out there and try my best on the court.'
BIRMINGHAM: The ankle injury may not be fully healed, but world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei is not about to throw in the towel just yet for the All-England.
After all, this year’s championships may well be his final hurrah at the world’s oldest and most prestigious badminton tournament.
The 31-year-old, who won the tournament twice – in 2010 and 2011, picked up an ankle injury two weeks ago during an invitational tournament in China.
Chong Wei, who is already mulling retirement at the end of the year, however, confirmed that he will compete and give his best unless his injury flares up.
“I’m already here in Birmingham ... there is no reason for me to pull out. I might as well go out there and try my best on the court,” said Chong Wei, who needed to strap his left ankle with ice packs after training.
“This is, after all, possibly my last All-England and I do not want to let this opportunity go to waste.
“But, at the same time, the All-England is not top of my priority list right now. With so many big tournaments coming up, I do not want to take unnecessary risks.
“My recovery is coming along fine but if it flares up during a match, I will consider withdrawing.
“Right now I just want to put that behind me and focus on my matches. I will definitely try to do my best.”
The two-time Olympic silver medallist will take on Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk in the first round on Wednesday and a win will see him face either compatriot Chong Wei Feng or Germany’s Marc Zwiebler.
Meanwhile, Wei Feng, whose best All-England performance was making the second round two years ago, is ready to benefit from any possibilities of a Chong Wei withdrawal.
“If indeed he pulls out, it may be an opportunity to go further for the first time. But it’s not good to think so far ahead ... better to focus on my first round match against Marc, who has been playing well recently,” said world No. 16 Wei Feng.
“Right now, I’m feeling confident and I think I have a 50-50 chance to clear my first round.
“Besides, there is extra motivation for me to win my first match of the year,” added the Kedahan, who was knocked out in the first round of the Korean and Malaysian Opens in January.