The Malaysia Thomas Cup team coaches in conference (from left): Rashid Sidek, Tan Kim Her, Wong Tat Meng and Hendrawan.
NEW DELHI: Former world badminton champion Hendrawan was perhaps not joking when he said he will be able to sleep better if Malaysia beat Japan to regain the Thomas Cup on Sunday.
The Indonesian is now coaching the back-up players and one of them – Goh Soon Huat – is in New Delhi as the fourth singles player for Malaysia.
It was Hendrawan who notched the winning point for Indonesia – against Malaysia – in the 2002 final in Guangzhou.
Trailing 2-1, Indonesia staged a stirring fightback to beat Malaysia 3-2.
Hendrawan, the then reigning world champion from Seville in 2001, shut out Roslin Hashim in the deciding third singles match and dashed Malaysia’s hopes of ending a title drought that dates back to 1992.
Malaysia have not managed to reach the final since that Sunday afternoon in Guangzhou 12 years ago but Hendrawan is optimistic the current batch of players can do it this time.
“In 2002, we (Indonesia) lost the first two singles but won both the doubles. The pressure was on Roslin to deliver as Malaysia wanted to win it badly ... I think he failed to play his normal game.
“I sometimes find it difficult to sleep whenever the Thomas Cup comes around, especially now that I am coaching in Malaysia.
“But I had no choice then ... as I was playing for my country.
“Now that I am with the Malaysian team, I’ve been sharing my experiences with the players whenever we have the time.
“I’ll be happy to help in any way and ease my feelings at the same time.
“The team event is different from individual events. It is about instilling a sense of team spirit and this team has done well so far in this aspect,” said Hendrawan, who was a member of the Indonesian team who won the Cup in 1998, 2000 and 2002.