Indonesia's chief coach Rexy Mainaky (left) jokes with journalists during a training session before the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals.
NEW DELHI: Will China’s Thomas Cup dominance come to an end in the current edition in New Delhi?
Former doubles ace Rexy Mainaky is certainly hoping so now that he is chief coach of the Indonesia badminton team, who enjoyed their golden years in the Thomas Cup from 1994 to 2002 with five titles.
China, who have reigned as champions of the biennial competition since 2004, are just one short of a record sixth successive win but Rexy believes things will not be so easy this time.
“The Thomas Cup starting tomorrow will be an open affair unlike previously.
“China have good singles players but their doubles are beatable.
“Indonesia have good doubles pairs whom we can rely on but our singles line-up is not so strong.
“Only Simon Santoso (expected to play the third singles) is the most experienced when it comes to the Thomas Cup but it will be hard for him against Lin Dan, so we have to hope Tommy (Sugiarto) or Dionysius (Hayom Rumbaka) will rise to the occasion.
“That’s why China brought in Lin Dan, who has not played for some time, to strengthen their team. They know Chen Long (first singles) and Du Pengyu (second singles) can lose.
“Countries like Denmark and South Korea have good doubles but their singles are weak.
“All teams are equally balanced. They have strong and weak points.
“China now holds all the major titles (World Championships, Olympics and Sudirman Cup), so I hope a new team can win this year.
“It is not good if one country dominates so long if we want to get new fans into badminton.
“If we cannot do it, we hope another country like South Korea or Denmark will be able to,” said Rexy, who took over the top coaching post in Indonesian badminton last year.
He is not counting out Malaysia, the country he spent a number of years coaching.
“Many say Malaysia are not strong and have no chance to go far but I disagree.
“You have Lee Chong Wei and he is almost assured of giving Malaysia a point.
“Either the second and third singles (Chong Wei Feng and Liew Daren) or the doubles must contribute the other points. Malaysia can do well if these players take their chances.”
Indonesia, led by world number one doubles pair Mohd Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan, should have no problem winning Group A, which included Nigeria, Singapore and Thailand.
Indonesia open their campaign against Singapore on Monday.