If Viktor Axelsen had a playbook to success, it would revolve around spending time with his young family, having a nice cup of coffee on matchdays, minding his own business to rigorously work on his game and keep improving.
The Danish superstar began the 2023 in resounding fashion as he defended his Malaysia Open title on Sunday, demolishing yet another Japanese in the final – Kodai Naraoka this time – in straight games.
Axelsen picked up from where he left off last year, winning the BWF World Tour Finals, as he started this one with another trophy.
The world number one barely looked flustered throughout the tournament, except for the first match when he lost the opening game to national team-mate Rasmus Gemke.
Apart from that, he continued to blow away competition with ease, making it difficult to pin-point who could match him.
“There are so many strong competitors and you cannot predict who will do well. For me it’s just about minding my own business, trying to do what works for me and keep improving.
“I just try to balance everything. I have two beautiful daughters who take my mind of badminton a little bit. I have a good balance off the court, good coaches and a good team around me. That’s the secret,” he said.
Standing a strapping 1.94m, the 29-year-old is one of the tallest shuttlers on the circuit and uses his height to devastating effect especially with his smashes, which either results in a winner or sets him up for the kill.
He also refined his defence in recent years, and his reading of the game is so immaculate that his opponents hardly get an easy point off him.
What also sets him apart from the rest is his unwavering focus.
When he does his media commitments, Axelsen is already in his warming down phase and usually only requests for two or three questions as he prepares to head in for recuperation.
After winning at the Axiata Arena on Sunday, he smiled when asked about breaking Lee Chong Wei’s 46 titles record on the World Tour.
“Chong Wei is a big role model. I played him here before and I’m happy he’s not playing anymore because he was so good here.”
Axelsen is next slated to compete at India Open which begins on Tuesday, with K.Srikanth as his first round opponent.