Believe it or not, reigning world champion Loh Kean Yew (pic) of Singapore has never played in the All-England before.
Now that the 24-year-old will be finally making his debut, he can’t wait to add more major honours to his name when he competes at the Arena Birmingham from March 16-20.
“I’m definitely excited to play in the All-England, I’ve been longing to play for a long time,” said the world No. 12 Kean Yew after struggling to register a 21-16, 21-15 win against world No. 343 Riku Hatano in a tie against Japan yesterday.
Singapore went on to beat Japan 3-2 in the Group B tie of the Asia Team Championships to enter the semi-finals.
“But right now, I’m just going to focus on my next match first in this week’s tournament.”
Kean Yew had never made the cut for the All-England, the highest-tier tournament on the World Tour, previously due to his low ranking.
Kean Yew had been hovering around top 40 prior to his career-changing two victories last year which included the Hylo Open in Germany.
Kean Yew will surely head to Birmingham as one of the top contenders seeking to dethrone Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia.
Meanwhile, Kean Yew, who was handed a 6-21, 14-21 by Zii Jia on Tuesday, admitted that he had been struggling to shake off rustiness as a result of a five-day quarantine that he underwent upon entering Malaysia.
Kean Yew arrived in Kuala Lumpur from Dubai, where he trained alongside world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, on Wednesday and it was not until Sunday that he was able to train again.
“It’s a different experience as this is the first time I had to be under quarantine and then come out straight to compete in high intensity matches,” said Kean Yew.
“I was looking forward to seeing how I would perform under these circumstances, at least now I know.
“Not getting to train for five days does make a lot of difference. Previously under the bubble system, we probably won’t get to train for two days at most.
“I will learn from this experience and do better the next time I face the same situation again.”