PETALING JAYA: Ng Tze Yong is arguably one of the most improved shuttlers in the national team this year.
But the 21-year-old is not getting carried away with the progress made and is willing to bide his time to reach the top.
Tze Yong, who won three titles en route to climbing to a career-best No. 60 in the world ranking, wants to establish himself at his own pace without wanting to compare himself with others.
Thailand’s Kunlavut Vitidsarn and India’s Lakhsya Sen are only 20 but have already achieved some tremendous results and are ranked inside the top 20.
World No. 20 Kunlavut is best known for finishing runner-up to world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen of Denmark at the World Tour Finals while the Indian world No. 17 sprung a surprise at the recent World Championships in Huelva by claiming bronze.
Tze Yong, who is preparing for the season-opening Indian Open in New Delhi from Jan 11-16 and Syed Modi International in Lucknow (Jan 18-23) is unperturbed by their achievements.
“I feel that I need more time because I’m only able to get into the World Tour events next year,” said Tze Yong.
“I don’t even know what’s the standard like. The only time I played in a World Tour event was in Spain (Masters last year).
“But having made it to this level, I’ve prepared myself for the hard grind and to gradually make my way up.
“What’s important is to stay on track with my goals. Like this year, the aim was to break into the top 60 and I did that.
“Next up is to get into the top 30 by year end (2022).
“Once I accomplish that, then I’d be able to enter tournaments of all levels.”
Despite landing a tough draw for the Indian Open, Tze Yong is thrilled at the prospect of vying in the World Tour.
“I’m very excited surely. The Indian Open is one tier higher than the one in Spain,” said Tze Yong.
“Hopefully I can go far because a good result will help my world ranking.”
In New Delhi, Tze Yong will open his campaign against Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia.
The other top contenders that he could cross path with in the bottom half are home favourites Lakhsya, H.S. Prannoy and B. Sai Praneeth.
Following an inspiring year, Tze Yong is touted to become the next best men’s singles player in the country after All-England champion Lee Zii Jia.
Tze Yong’s brilliant season was highlighted by his three International Challenge tournament victories at the Polish Open, Belgian International and Scottish Open.He also stood out at the Thomas Cup Finals for his grand battle against Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie.
Tze Yong fought for 75 minutes before conceding 21-14, 19-21, 16-21 to the reigning Asian Games champion.