It’s the best full-time job

A breeze: Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen returning a shot to France’s Brice Leverdez during the first round. — S.S. KANESAN/The Star

BADMINTON is his life and a full-time job. This pragmatic approach has brought Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen unparalleled success and makes him the most recognisable face of the sport at this moment.

Nothing is flashy for the humble Dane although he has been churning out titles without a fuss. In fact, he enjoys every moment of his career.

Axelsen is on a purple patch this year having won the All-England in March, a third European crown in April and back-to-back Indonesia Masters and Open title over the last two weeks.

He has also set off for his third consecutive title chase in the Malaysian Open after beating Brice Leverdez of France 22-20, 21-7 in the first round at the Axiata Arena yesterday but it was business as usual for Axelsen.

“It’s a full-time job obviously. It’s my life now and to be honest, I don’t feel that much pressure,” said Axelsen.

“I really enjoy the ride, I enjoy my journey and I keep training hard and I’m not looking back. Just trying to do whatever that has worked for me before and add new things and be humble about everything. So far, so good.”

Next he will be meeting one of the players who have benefited from his regular Dubai training camps, Hong Kong’s Lee Cheuk Yiu, who upstaged world champion Loh Kean Yew of Singapore 21-19, 21-12 yesterday.

Kean Yew also trains in Dubai with Axelsen.

Axelsen has always avoided clustered thinking and has not set any targets for the whole year or the coming World Cham-pionships in Tokyo (Aug 21-28).

“If Cheuk Yiu beats me tomorrow (Wednesday), he will not be invited to the camp,” joked Axelsen.

“I’m happy to have the opportunity to train with them in Dubai.

“Both are great players and great people off court.

“To be honest, I take one match at a time. The season has been really hectic and I cannot think too far ahead, just stay in the moment and focus on the job at hand.”

Axelsen also took his own way of dealing with the draught at the Axiata Arena.

“I have never experienced like this before. The quickest drift I have ever experienced in my career.

“It was tough to control (the shuttle) at one of the sides but it was a fun experience out there,” added Axelsen.

Axelsen is also the man to beat in next week’s Malaysian Masters but it can wait. Malaysian Open is the moment to savour for the Dane now.

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