Axelsen’s in it for the Long haul

Denmark badminton player Viktor Axelsen contemplates after losing to Chen Long of China in the Australian Open in May. - AFP

JAKARTA: Stay calm.

That will be Denmark Viktor Axelsen’s approach at this year’s World Championships as he tries to live up to his Chinese name.

“My Chinese name is An Sai Long. My Mandarin class teacher gave me that name ... if translated, it will sound something like calm competitive dragon,” he said with a laugh.

“I think, it’s pretty cool,”

The 21-year-old Axelsen, who speaks Mandarin quite fluently after taking up classes for more than a year, said he is now better after last year’s heavy defeat to Lee Chong Wei in the semi-finals in Copenhagen.

“That is unforgettable but that defeat has given me motivation to work even harder,” he said.

“This year, I am quite satisfied with my game against China’s Chen Long and Lin Dan.”

The former world junior champion defeated Lin Dan in the first round of the Australian Open and went down fighting to Chen Long in the final.

“I am developing my game. It is a long journey ... it is not a sprint for me. I need to be humble about the sport as I have a lot of hard work ahead of me,” added Axelsen, who may meet top seed and defending champion Chen Long in the quarter-finals.

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