Roy King believes left-handed Arif is right mate to go the distance


Gaining ground: Wan Arif Wan Junaidi (right) and Yap Roy King have moved from No. 64 to No. 36 in just months. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

PETALING JAYA: What makes the partnership between Yap Roy King and Wan Arif Wan Junaidi unique? Just ask Roy King.

Roy King feels that the duo are getting it right because his partner is left-handed.

“I’m right-handed while Arif is left-handed and this makes opponents confused sometimes when they play against us,” he said.

“This gives us some advantage when we are on court.”

They have been doing well of late, and this was evident in the rapid rise in the world ranking. They have moved from No. 64 to No. 36 just within months.

“I have full confidence in both my partner and coaches and what we are doing together right now. My aim now is to keep improving our rankings,” said Roy King.

“Our target is to break into the top 32 first, so that we can compete in higher tier tournaments.

“I don’t want to think too far ahead but want to keep being consistent.”

The 23-year-old Roy King and Arif, 21, were combined in March last year following a partnership reshuffle in the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) and are flying high after an injury-disrupted start to the year for the former.

The pair made heads turn in the Malaysian Masters when they stunned Taiwan’s world No. 12 Lee Jhe-huei-Yang Po-hsuan, Denmark’s world No. 15 Rasmus Kjaer-Frederik Sogaard before losing to world No. 4 and eventual champions Kim Astrup-Anders Skaarup Rasmussen of Denmark in the semi-finals.

Roy King-Arif were the only home representatives in the men’s doubles to make it into the last four following the exits of their seniors Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani and Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun, who all lost in the quarter-finals.

A week earlier, the fast rising youngsters toppled Taiwan’s world No. 25 Lu Ching-yao-Yang Po-han en route to reaching the last eight of the Thailand Open.

Meanwhile, Arif cited the growing understanding between him and Roy King as the key to their fine progress.

“I feel we have a good understanding with each other,” said Arif.

“We support each other and don’t hesitate to point out to each other when we make mistakes.

“We have proved that we can match top 20 pairs and now we want to improve to be able to beat top 10 pairs.”

Roy King-Arif will next compete in the Australian Open from June 11-16 in Sydney.

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