KUALA LUMPUR: Men’s singles head coach Datuk Misbun Sidek (pic) is expecting Lee Chong Wei to step on the gas in training after the Chinese New Year break.
Misbun is pleased to see Chong Wei making steady progress since he reported for fitness training early this month.
The head coach says the three-time Olympic Games silver medallist must step up in order to make a mark at the Malaysian Open in April and he has no doubts that the former world No. 1 would be able to return and find his best form once again based on the determination shown in training.
“He can definitely play if he wants to (at the Malaysian Open), but does he want to merely compete in the tournament or go all out to win?” said Misbun.
Chong Wei holds the record of winning the Malaysian Open 12 times.
“He has a target to achieve because that is the kind of player that he is. He’ll go all out,” said Misbun.
“He has the desire and is itching to get back to playing in a competitive tournament because he has been out of it for so long.”
The 36-year-old has been out of competition since July last year after being diagnosed with nose cancer. He had targeted to return for the All-England in March but had to abort his plan following his doctor’s advice.
Misbun said that Chong Wei had been consistent in working on his conditioning and had been spending time in the gymnasium three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
“His fitness is not at 100 per cent yet, and that’s expected. There are many aspects still lacking from his strength, and his muscles have softened a bit,” said Misbun.
“He’s not as tough, ready and complete as a player he was before this, so he is not yet ready for a tournament. But I believe it is no problem for him to get back to the top level.
“If he can train about two hours a day and do that 20 times in a month after the Chinese New Year break, then he’ll be able to build himself well to play at a competitive level at the Malaysian Open.”
Devoid of any tournaments since his Indonesian Open semi-final finish in July, Chong Wei has dropped from the world No. 2 to No. 31 in the latest rankings.