Lee Zii Jia does not have much time to mull too much over his shortcomings this year if he intends to make an impact at the upcoming All-England Open (March 17-21), cautioned the tournament’s four-time champion Lee Chong Wei.
Chong Wei knows all about overcoming adversity, having overcame many obstacles throughout his illustrious career, as he advised the younger Lee to fight the battles within himself, before the one he faces on court.
“I understand he’s having a dip in form right now, it’s not easy because I’ve been there and done that. I have experienced losing confidence for a few outings before I managed to find my way to overcome the pressure and regain form.
“I hope he learns how to lift the weight off his shoulders,” Chong Wei told Bernama.
The All-England should bring back bittersweet memories for Zii Jia, who was on the cusp of reaching the final last year, but a controversial call that ended up with him losing narrowly to defending champion Viktor Axelsen.
This year, the world number 10 flattered to deceive at the Bangkok Tour with a quarter-final and two early round exits at the Thailand 1 & 2 along with the 2020 BWF World Tour Finals.
At last week’s Swiss Open, Zii Jia was slated for the final, but a poor performance against Thailand’s Kunvalut Vitidsarn ended up in a straight game semi-final defeat.
With almost every top shuttler back in the fray at the world’s oldest badminton event, Zii Jia is up against it.
He should breeze past Canadian Brian Yang in the opener, but faces a possible banana skin against Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Vittinghus, who reached the Thai Open 2 final after defeating world number three Anders Antonsen, in the second round.
If Zii Jia sees off the Dane, he will most likely face world number one Kento Momota who is returning to the BWF World Tour action in over a year.
Momota could also play another Malaysian, Liew Daren, in the second round.