PETALING JAYA: It’s normal for a young player to want to prove himself – and Ng Tze Yong is no different.
The world No. 82 Tze Yong is rubbing his hands with glee over the prospect of playing against a world top 20 opponent for the first time in his debut Thomas Cup Finals in Aarhus, Denmark.
Barring any surprise decision, the 21-year-old will most likely feature in both ties against Japan and Canada in Group D this week.
But it’s the clash with Japan that excites him the most as he could be pitted with the likes of world No. 13 Kanta Tsuneyama or No. 16 Kenta Nishimoto, should he fill up the second or third singles role.
“I’m very excited for sure (if I get to start against Japan),” said Tze Yong.
“I have never played a world top 20 opponent before, so this is a good chance for me to gauge where my current playing level stands against the world’s best.”
Tze Yong has beaten South Korean Lee Hyun-il and Indonesia’s Sony Dwi Kuncoro before but it was when the former No. 1s were going downhill in their careers.
Tze Yong won his first senior title by beating Hyun-il at the Australian International Open but the Korean retired due to injury in the second game. He has beaten Sony, when the latter was ranked 138th in the Indonesian International Challenge semi-finals in 2019.
“Of course, if I’m given the chance to play, I’ll not only go all out to give a good fight, but I want to beat them.
“When you have the courage and play with no fear, then you’re capable of doing anything.”
Tze Yong, however, is keeping his feet firmly on the ground although he has emerged as the most improved back-up member in the men’s singles department over the past one year.
Not only did he win the BAM Invitational Championship last year, he has also proven himself by winning the sixth-tier Polish Open in March.
Also, if his internal ranking tournament performance last month is of any indication, Tze Yong should be unofficially ranked second behind world No. 8 Lee Zii Jia.
Tze Yong won all his five matches to come out tops in the six-man round-robin contest, followed by Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin, Leong Jun Hao, Cheam June Wei, Lim Chong King and Justin Hoh.
Tze Yong is under no illusion that he would be an automatic starter in the Finals.
“I have produced better results than my teammates recently, but I’m still below them in terms of ranking,” he said.
“I have done my best to put myself in a good position for selection but it’s the coaches’ call.
“My task is to be ready and play a prominent role, be it in the second singles or third. I have only one goal – to win a point for the team.”