I’m gonna miss you Momota, says Axelsen

PETALING JAYA: World No. 1 Viktor Axelsen is going to miss being put through hard times by former top shuttler Kento Momota.

The former two-time world champion Momota announced his retirement from international badminton at the age of 29 yesterday, adding that the upcoming Thomas Cup in Chengdu starting on April 27 will be his last outing wearing the Japanese team kit.

Having met each other countless times on badminton’s biggest stages, Axelsen shared his goodbye message to the former world No. 1 Momota. “Even though you have kicked my a** way too many times, it has been an absolute pleasure sharing the court with you.

“I feel lucky to have been able to compete with a player of your calibre,” Axelsen said.

The top giants have met each other 17 times on the world stage, with Momota displaying his dominance by claiming 14 victories against Axelsen.

“You have pushed me to work harder and I know you have inspired a lot of fans and young kids around the world to pick up a racquet. I wish you all the best in your future endeavours and a big congratulations on a fantastic career,” he said.

In his prime, Momota was an unstoppable force who won the World Championships and Asian Championships back-to-back in 2018 and 2019.

However, Momota could never bounce back from the terrible car crash that came after his win at the 2020 Malaysia Masters.

The accident killed the driver and left Momota needing eye surgery, but the Japanese player never fully bounced back from the incident and has struggled to match his performance to what it once was.

Momota said the unfortunate accident has left him with many issues since.

“After the eye surgery, there were parts where I couldn’t see and there were areas of my body that I couldn’t move.

“Even with the amount of practice that shouldn’t have tired me out, I felt fatigued. In that situation, I tried my best but felt it was difficult to compete with the top players in the world anymore.

“I have come to the conclusion that I cannot continue aiming for the top of the world once again due to my physical condition.

“Wearing the national team uniform that I have admired since I was a child is something to be proud of as it is not a position that everyone can attain,” he said.

Besides the Asian and World Championships titles to his name, Momota also won the All-England title in 2019, the same year he went on to win 11 titles.

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Badminton , Kento Momota , Viktor Axelsen


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