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Friday March 7, 2008
PETALING JAYA: Doubles coach Rexy Mainaky has gotten used to national number one Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong being the losers.
He neither gave Kien Keat-Boon Heong a tongue-lashing nor broke into an emotional outburst against them after their shock first-round defeat in the All-England in Birmingham on Wednesday.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong defence of the men's doubles title ended with a 18-21, 19-21 defeat by their bogeymen, Shuichi Sakamoto-Shintaro Ikeda of Japan. And Rexy took it all in his stride.
The Japanese, currently ranked 14 the in the world, also sent the Malaysians packing in the third round of the World Championships last year.
It was the second big disappointment for Kien Keat-Boon Heong this year after their failure to retain the crown in the Malaysian Open in January.
Koo and Tan kept on winning last year and I got used to that. Now, they keep on losing and I have gotten used to it too, said Rexy in a telephone interview yesterday.
They played so well in Vietnam (during the Thomas Cup qualifying tournament) last month. But they were still not good enough to beat the Japanese, who played exceptionally well.
It was disappointing but I will continue to find ways to stop them from losing all the time.
Rexy added that the duo would have had a better chance of beating the Japanese if the flamboyant Kien Keat did not show over-confidence.
Koo and Tan wanted so badly to avenge their defeat by this Japanese pair. I know that. But Koo was over confident and he panicked when his good shots kept coming back, said Rexy.
He was even breathless during the break. I wished he had played his normal free and easy game. I am however, pleased with Tan, who produced one of his best matches in recent times.
Rexy said that he chose to be positive despite the duo's big setback in their preparation for the Beijing Olympics in August.
There were also other big upsets in the first round. World champions (Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia) lost tamely to another Japanese pair, he said.
But I am not using the defeat of the other top pairs as an excuse for our players.
Our players still need to work hard and I will focus on getting them to feel confident of themselves again.
They have to try hard to make a quick rebound in the Swiss Open next week.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong, who won a total of seven titles in their first year as a pair last year, are also the defending champions in the Swiss Open.
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