Lee Zii Jia turned 24 on Tuesday and the men’s singles ace would be thrilled after being serenaded by overwhelming birthday wishes and love sent his way by thousands, evident by his name trending on Twitter.

The world number seven is no doubt in the biggest phase of his career this year, after breaking away from the national body with the formation of his own comprehensive team that includes men’s singles coach Indra Wijaya and Liew Daren.

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Here, we take a look on some of Lee’s achievements this year, and what he could potentially deliver for the country in a tremendous year for badminton as he celebrates another anniversary.

Perfect record to help Malaysia win the Asia Team Championships (ATC)

The ATC was Lee’s first big test after the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) saga, who initially wanted to prohibit him from any tournaments, to finally relenting following involvement of several ministers.

As the first singles, Lee shouldered the burden of getting the all-important first point, and he did so despite having to recover from a first game loss in three of those encounters.

Malaysia winning the team meet for the maiden time did wonders not only for the morale of the national contingent, but it was also endearing to know Lee was bent on making the country proud by leading his team.

Decent outing in Europe, Asia next

Lee would be content with his consecutive semi-final showings at the German and All-England Open earlier this month.

He may have been favourite to beat both his victors – Kunvalut Vitidsarn and Lakshya Sen – in those matches, but bear in mind both those shuttlers were at the peak of their prowess and would soon challenge the other top contenders.

Former national coach Rashid Sidek who observed Lee’s performance at the All-England recently said that the world number seven was consistent, adding it was not a glaring difference from when he was with the BAM.

Wijaya said his star student was on the right track despite the All-England loss, and the pair would no doubt be working to fine-tune his game ahead of a huge month in April.

Lee is set to contend at both the Korean Open (April 5-10) and later Korea Masters (April 12-17), before heading to Manila for the Asia Championships event (April 26-May 1).

A good outing should put him in the ideal frame to lead Malaysia’s charge at the Thomas Cup in May.

Success off the court

One of the defining details of a well encompassed athlete is their ability to attract multiple endorsement deals to compliment their on-court success.

Lee is on his way to achieving this, to a certain degree of success.

The lucrative sponsorship with sports equipment brand Victor is one of the major driving force of him turning professional, while being the ambassador of electronics company Oppo and LG has also increased his stock.

On social media, he is about to reach one million followers on Instagram, in which he will eventually reach and surpass that golden mark with more on-court success, even before he turns 25.