PETALING JAYA: Shuttler Lee Zii Jia has yet to live up to his national No. 2 men’s singles status and he is not shy to admit that.
The 20-year-old continued to struggle on the Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour when he was sent packing in the second round of the Lingshui China Masters last week.
The world No. 45 was beaten by 18-year-old Li Shifeng, who is yet to be ranked in the BWF world rankings.
The dismal outing, coupled with his first-round exit in the Swiss Open in February, certainly does not augur well for Zii Jia, who is expected to play a big role as Malaysia’s second singles in the Thomas Cup Finals in Bangkok from May 20-27.
Zii Jia agreed he has been a big letdown.
“I’m quite worried about my recent performances,” said Zii Jia as he gave a brutally honest assessment of himself.
“That wasn’t anywhere near my best and I’m very disappointed. Tactically, mentally ... I’m just not good enough at the moment.”
But Zii Jia isn’t just going to sit back and do nothing.
With no tournaments lined up until the Thomas Cup, Zii Jia vowed to make the most of the next five weeks to prepare well for his biggest test yet.
“I need time to get things right and it’s a blessing in disguise that I don’t have tournaments to play until the Thomas Cup,” said Zii Jia.
“I’m going to sit down and discuss with my coaches to identify the areas that I need to work on.
“I will do whatever it takes to get myself ready for the Thomas Cup.”
Zii Jia also failed to impress at the Malaysian Masters in January and Indian Open in February.
But he did prove he’s up for the second men’s singles role with an outstanding display during the Asia Team Championships in Alor Setar, Kedah, in February.
Playing in his hometown, Zii Jia won four of the five matches to help Malaysia reach the semi-finals and qualify for the Finals.
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