Kevin’s the partner everyone wants

  • Badminton
  • Wednesday, 22 Apr 2020

Perfect player: Indonesia’s men’s doubles ace Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo is known for his agility and pace. — AFP

PETALING JAYA: Indonesia’s world No. 1 men’s doubles shuttler Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo is indeed everyone’s dream partner. Even Denmark’s men’s singles ace Anders Antonsen wants a piece of him.

The 22-year-old Antonsen admitted that he would like to play alongside Kevin, known for his agility and pace, if he ever gets to choose his partner in a men’s doubles match.

“I would say Kevin ... I think he’s without a doubt the best player in the world,” said world No. 3 Antonsen in a recorded interview with badminton show “Never Mind the Shuttlecocks”.

“It would be fun to see his skills on the court.

“I have watched him a bunch of times on television and live, so I guess it would be fun to experience it (partnering Kevin) on my own.”

On his favourite opponent, Antonsen was quick to pick man of the moment Kento Momota of Japan.

Antonsen has met the current world No. 1 and two-time world champion six times thus far, losing five of the encounters.

He suffered the heaviest defeat in his most important match yet – a 9-21, 3-21 whipping – in one of the most lopsided finals in the World Championships’ history in Basel, Switzerland, last year.

“I enjoy playing against Kento Momota. He’s a phenomenal player,” said Antonsen.

“He’s definitely pushing me to do even better. I don’t really talk to him much outside the court but I enjoy playing against him.”

In the close to six-minute interview, Antonsen also shed light on his iconic headband.

He said: “I started wearing the headband many years ago.

“I think it was because my hair was getting too long and it was annoying to have sweat coming down to my eyes. It was frustrating, so I started wearing it, and now it’s a thing!”

Antonsen also confessed that his favourite food was sushi and said compatriot Jan O Jorgensen was his best friend on tour because he’s “a great and funny guy”.

Antonsen is currently recovering from a right ankle injury sustained during the All-England semi-final clash against Taiwanese Chou Tien-chen five weeks ago.

Antonsen was trailing 14-16 when he was forced to concede the match, dashing his hopes of making it an all-Danish affair with Viktor Axelsen becoming the eventual champion.

He could barely stand and had to leave the Arena Birmingham in a wheelchair.

However, the injury may have come at an opportune time as the Covid-19 pandemic has forced the World Tour to be suspended until August and pushed the Tokyo Olympics to next year.

Antonsen should be up and about before Denmark set out to reclaim the Thomas Cup that they won for the first time in Kunshan, China, in 2016.

The Thomas Cup Finals are slated for Aug 15-23 in Denmark but the status of the prestigious team tournament remains a doubt with the Covid-19 pandemic showing no sign of abating.

If it proceeds, Antonsen will be pumped up to put up a good show. After all, host city Aarhus is where he hails from.

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