CHOOSING and peaking at the right tournaments have helped Japan’s Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi to shine in major events.
Japan’s doubles coach Tan Kim Her said setting their priorities right has helped Hoki-Kobayashi reach the 2019 World Championships final in Basel and two years later, they became the country’s first men’s doubles pair to win the world meet in Huelva, Spain.
They were unlucky not to reach the Tokyo Olympics last year as 2021 All-England champions Hiroyuki Endo-Yuta Watanabe and Takeshi Komura-Keigo Sonoda qualified for the Games at home. However, both pairs failed to win a medal.
Come the World Championships in Tokyo from Aug 21-28, Hoki-Kobayashi will be licking their lips for another special outing in the major event that seems to be bringing the best out of them.
“Japan place a lot of emphasis on the Olympics, World Championships, Asian Games and All-England. So it is important for the pairs to choose the right tournaments to peak,” said Kim Her.
“Hoki-Kobayashi have been doing well currently and will be out to defend the title at home.
“The men’s doubles field is very open where more than 10 pairs are capable of winning and it will be futile if we try to win every tournament on offer. This will make our pairs lose focus and they may end up failing at major events.
“My job is not only to train them but also motivate them to do well in these big events. They are quite receptive and they work hard to achieve their goals.
“Our system is also good where we have promotion and demotion among the team A and B annually and this keeps them on their toes.”
Kobayashi said it was confidence that helped them win the world title and it came from their tactical ability to outplay their opponents.
“We rely on our service and front court play. If the service is good, we can control the rallies and we feel very confident. This helped us to become world champions for the first time,” said Kobayashi.
“All players can attack but the service and front court play are very important. If it works, we can challenge any pair.”
Hoki-Kobayashi have only won the Thailand Open since their Huelva triumph but Kim Her is unperturbed as the world meet will be their main mission.
Besides the duo, Japan will have Akira Koga-Taichi Saito and Keiichiro Matsui-Yoshinori Takeuchi to light up their home competition.