Lee Zii Jia appreciated the amazing support he received at the All England after a stressful period where he had fallen out of love with the game.
Lee crashed out in the semi-finals of the prestigious Super 1000 event following a 19-21, 13-21 defeat against Shi Yu Qi on Saturday.
The shuttler was not completely downcast despite the defeat, having played his best in this tournament to notch his furthest progression this year.
The 2021 champion also said returning to the Arena Birmingham rekindled his love for the game.
“Previously there was a period where it was quite stressful for me, even where I had fallen out of love with badminton. I was frowning and not feeling good about myself.
“So I’m really happy to be able to regain this love for badminton again here. The fans here are always giving me their full support and I appreciate that,” he said.
Lee also congratulated Shi, who nullified the Malaysian’s attacking threat brilliantly to come away with the straight-game victory.
“Shi was great in all areas. His speed, control, and his ability to restrict my gameplay. As for me, I need to work on my front court, net control as well as my rear court execution,” he added.
Shi, who has beaten Lee in four of their five meetings, also praised the Malaysian.
“He is one of the best athletes in the world. I think I can learn a lot from him as well,” he said.
The world number four said he planned to be back at training on Sunday to prepare for the Swiss Open next.
Despite being seeded second, Lee will not have an easy opener as he faces Li Shi Feng, who reached the All-England final to contest the men’s singles title against Shi.
Viktor Axelsen, Shi and Anders Antonsen are among the star names slated to compete at the Super 300 event that begins on Tuesday.
A beautiful showing of mutual respect from two of the best shuttlers in the world ?#YAE23 pic.twitter.com/1lo2Es69H9— ? Yonex All England Badminton Championships ? (@YonexAllEngland) March 18, 2023