PETALING JAYA: Mixed doubles shuttler Chen Tang Jie just knows how to add colour to the game.
So be prepared to welcome Tang Jie with another hairstyle and colour when he gets into action with Valeree Siow in the first round of the Malaysian Masters starting today with the qualifying round.
Tang Jie was spotted with a different hairdo and colour at last week’s Malaysian Open. It was his sixth different look since he realised that a player’s appearance on court is as important as his performance.
“I must thank my sponsor and my hairstylist Mei Ng. She is a good friend whom I’ve known for some time but we haven’t chatted for a long time until I attended the same training camp with her son Jin Khoo as he’s in the junior team,” said Tang Jie.
“Before that, I didn’t really take care of my appearance. I went to her salon and we had a chat. She told me about the importance of image and how it would boost my confidence and presence.
“That was in late 2021 and since then, she has been the “boss” of my hair,” he said in jest.
While his appearance has certainly changed, Tang Jie’s performance on court has also improved.
Last week, Tang Jie and his new partner Valeree upstaged Japan’s world No. 16 Yuki Kaneko-Misaki Matsutomo in the opener before going down fighting to top seeds and eventual champions Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong of China in the second round.
They also reached the quarter-finals of the Indonesian Open.
Tang Jie said: “Besides having very strong fighting spirit, Valeree has good attacking skills in the back court. To be honest, sometimes we will accidentally turn on the doubles mode, covering the back too.’’
On their fourth tournament together at the Malaysian Masters, Tang Jie knows it will be tough.
They will play eighth seeds Mark Lamsfuss-Isabel Lohau tomorrow and may face third seeds Yuta Watanabe-Arisa Higashino of Japan in the quarter-finals.
“Lamsfuss and Lohau are good players, they have beaten Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie at the Swiss Open final. Our goal is to give them a tough fight,” he added.