PETALING JAYA: Don’t take time for granted.
That is the timely advice from former world No. 1 Tan Boon Heong to struggling national men’s doubles pair Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik.
The world No. 13 suffered yet another early exit when they lost 19-21,21-13,21-23 to Kim Astrup-Anders Skaarup Rasmussen in the second round of the French Open in Paris on Thursday.
It’s the fourth successive tournament that Aaron-Wooi Yik failed to make it past the last 16 stage, and their continuous struggle has led to suggestion that their stunning All-England runners-up finish in March could be just a flash in the pan.
Hopes were high on them to win their first title, but they have failed to enter even one semi-final in the last 14 tournaments.
The 22-year-old Aaron and Wooi Yik, 21, have pleaded for their fans to be patient with them as they needed time to establish themselves.
But Boon Heong, who reached the pinnacle of world badminton at 19, believes time waits for no one.
“It will be a huge mistake if they (Aaron-Wooi Yik) keep thinking that time is on their side, ” said the 32-year-old Boon Heong, who enjoyed a fine career with partner Koo Kien Keat from 2006 to 2013.
“I hope they realise how many players, at around their age, have already made it to the top.
“They should refrain themselves from thinking that they are still young and have all the time in the world.
“If you don’t do well in one tournament, you have to bounce back right away. Don’t think that it’s okay to fail again because you will always have another tournament to make up for.
“When I was enduring a rough patch back then, I made the same mistake too. Eventually, I stagnated. I hope they don’t repeat the same.”
Asked if Aaron-Wooi Yik have failed to impress due to mounting pressure from both the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) and demanding fans, said Boon Heong: “I don’t understand why they go to tournaments with so much pressure.
“They are not the world No. 1 yet, why are they feeling the pressure in the first place?”
Boon Heong, however, pointed out that the morale and confidence of national shuttlers could possibly be affected by criticism coming from social media platforms.
“During my time, we get criticised by the media (press). But now, everyone can just hurl nasty words at you by commenting on your social media account, ” said Boon Heong.
“But the players have to stay positive. Of course, people glorify you when you play well and it’s totally opposite when you’re not. They just have to be strong mentally.”
Boon Heong says he has faith that Aaron-Wooi Yik will turn into world beaters if they persevere.
“Last year, I returned to BAM briefly as a sparring partner. I’ve sparred with them, they have so much potential, ” said Boon Heong.
“Let’s keep encouraging them. I strongly believe they can be our leading pair for many, many years to come.
“They would not make it to the All-England final if they don’t have the ability. All they need to do now is to keep calm and keep improving.”
Meanwhile, mixed doubles pair Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing are the only Malaysians left standing in Paris following the elimination of Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean and Vivian Hoo-Yap Cheng Wen in the women’s doubles.
They take on top seeds Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong of China next.
Men’s singles: Kento Momota (Jpn) bt Hans-Kristian Vittinghus (Den) 17-21,21-19,21-4; Anthony Ginting (Ina) bt Huang Yuxiang (Chn) 21-11,21-10; Shesar Hiren Rhustavito (Ina) bt Subhankar Dey (Ind) 21-6,21-13; Chen Long (Chn) bt Lin Dan (Chn) 21-15,21-16; Jonatan Christie (Ina) bt Lee Cheuk Yiu (Hkg) 17-21,22-20,21-15; Anders Antonsen (Den) bt Kenta Nishimoto (Jpn) 21-19,21-18; Viktor Axelsen (Den) bt Kanta Tsuneyama (Jpn) 21-9,11-21,21-15; Angus Ng Ka Long (Hkg) bt Chou Tien-chen (Tpe) 23-25,21-17,21-16.
Men’s doubles: Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (Ina) bt Kim Gi-jung-Lee Yong-dae (Kor) 21-8, ret; Han Chengkai-Zhou Haodong (Chn) bt Wahyu Nayaka Arya Pangkaryanira-Ade Yusuf Santoso (Ina) 21-18,20-22,22-20; Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda (Jpn) bt Lee Yang-Wang Chi-lin (Tpe) 21-12,16-21,21-14; Liao Min-chun-Su Ching-heng (Tpe) bt Mathias Boe-Mads Conrad-Petersen (Den) 14-21,21-17,21-15; Hiroyuki Endo-Yuta Watanabe (Jpn) bt Takuto Inoue-Yuki Kaneko (Jpn) 21-14,21-13; Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen (Chn) bt Ben Lane-Sean Vendy (Eng) 22-20,21-15; Kim Astrup-Anders Skaarup Rasmussen (Den) bt Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik (Mas) 21-19,13-21,23-21; Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty (Ind) bt Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan (Ina) 21-18,18-21,21-13.
Women’s doubles: Hsu Ya-ching-Hu Ling-fang (Tpe) bt Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean (Mas) 21-16,21-23,23-21; Chen Qingchen-Jia Yifan (Chn) bt Vivian Hoo-Yap Cheng Wen (Mas) 21-11,21-12.
Mixed doubles: Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing (Mas) bt Rinov Rivaldy-Pitha Haningtyas Mentari (Ina) 9-21,21-18,22-20.
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