PETALING JAYA: See you in Japan.
Independent shuttler Lee Zii Jia needs some time to heal his tired body in preparations for the World Championships from Aug 22-28 in Tokyo and the Japan Open from Aug 30-Sept 4 in Osaka.
Zii Jia has withdrawn from the Malaysian Masters which starts today at the Axiata Arena. His pullout will give him a solid seven weeks to return fresh for his double Japan stints.
Lee Zii Yii, Zii Jia’s manager and sister, said they had informed the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) of his withdrawal.
The world No. 5 was treated for a hip injury during the Indonesian Open but insisted on playing at the home tournament last week.
He lost narrowly to Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in the semi-finals of the Indonesian Open. At the Malaysian Open, he went out with a whimper in the second round to Indonesia’s Shesar Hiren.
“Actually, the doctor who treated him in Indonesia advised him to rest for six weeks but he did not want to disappoint his fans at home. He decided to give it a shot,” said Zii Yii.
“Thankfully, the injury is not serious. The doctor treated his hip but he is physically exhausted and could not really train properly.’’
Zii Jia had already pulled out from the Commonwealth Games, Singapore Open and Taiwan Open this month.
“We feel that rather than play half-heartedly in the Masters, it’s better we give him adequate rest so he will be better prepared for the world meet and Japan Open,” added Zii Yii.
Zii Yii admitted that she and her elder brother are learning in their new journey.
“Zii Jia’s venture as an independent player is new and is still learning many things. The first half of the year was so packed but now, we are learning to pick and choose,” said Zii Yii.
“We want to be conscious of Zii Jia’s ability to play and plan around the tournament schedule.
“We were probably excited to take part in all at the start but now we’ve learned.”
Meanwhile, the other notable pullouts in the singles include reigning Malaysian Open winner Axelsen and Shesar, who was injured during his quarter-final clash with Japan’s Kento Momota.
Second seed Momota will be out to go one step better after a meek defeat to Axelsen in the Malaysian Open final on Sunday.