National No. 1 singles shuttler Lee Chong Wei hopes his team-mates will not fear their opponents when they step onto the court during the Thomas Cup tournament next week. - Filepic
PETALING JAYA: Half the battle is already lost if an athlete is fearful of his opponent.
Malaysia’s top singles player Lee Chong Wei does not want his team-mates bringing this mentality to court when the Thomas Cup Finals begins this weekend in New Delhi.
As the current world number one, Chong Wei will be relied heavily upon to deliver a point but it is just as important for his singles team-mates to play their part if Malaysia are to avoid going out at the quarter-final stage again.
Malaysia fell 0-3 to China in the quarter-finals in Wuhan two years ago.
This year, Malaysia are pitted against 2012 losing finalist South Korea, Germany and hosts India in Group C. The top two teams of each group will advance to the knockout stages, but Malaysia will need to top the group in order to avoid the seeded teams in the quarter-finals.
A fresh draw will be made for the eight teams who make it to the quarter-finals.
The onus is on either captain Liew Daren, Chong Wei Feng or Goh Soon Huat to back Chong Wei in the singles department if they are fielded.
The doubles players bound for New Delhi are Tan Boon Heong, Chan Peng Soon, Goh V Shem, Hoon Thien How, Lim Khim Wah and Tan Wee Kiong.
”We have been training for some time and I don’t want them to be afraid of their opponents.
”They have nothing to lose. It will be a shame if they lose the match because they give too much respect to their opponents and are unable to play to their real ability.
”We have experts helping everyone deal with the psychological side after we finish training.
”We also go through the videos of our expected opponents.
”The preparations are going well so far,” said Chong Wei, who made his Thomas Cup debut in Jakarta in 2004.
On his part, Chong Wei is determined to get his team off to a good start by winning the first singles matches.
”It will be very helpful for my team-mates. It lessens the pressure on them if I get the first point and whoever plays the second singles will be calmer.”
Indonesia, the most successful nation at the Thomas Cup with 13 titles to their name, are in Group A with Thailand, Nigeria and Singapore while Group B pits Denmark against Japan, Hong Kong and England.
Group D have defending champions China up against Taiwan, Russia and France.