Kento Momota admitted being at ‘rock bottom’ mentally at the moment after two early exits on home soil but dismissed taking any time off from the game.
Ever since he won the Indonesia Masters in November last year, the Japanese cut a shadow of himself.
This year alone, Momota crashed out as early as the second round on seven occasions.
Most recently, he failed to make it past the second round of World Championships and then the opening round of the Japan Open.
The world number two was baffled with his horrendous rut, as there was no lack of effort in training.
“For this tournament I worked really, really hard so after the match I hit absolute rock bottom. I didn’t know what I should do next.
“But after conversations with various people, I feel like I have to get back on my feet again, little by little,” Momota told Olympics.com after he crashed out at the hands of H.S. Prannoy at the World Championships.
The home crowd gathered at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium drew huge sighs as Momota crashed out in less than an hour.
A year earlier, they also saw him lose in the group stage of the Tokyo Olympics when he was a favourite to clinch a historic gold.
Momota felt his loss of confidence was a huge factor at this stage.
“I’ve played all kinds of matches in the past. Back then, when I felt I wasn’t being aggressive enough, I could make the adjustments. But right now, I’m not playing with the confidence I should have.
“It feels like a lot of it is mental. The biggest thing is, the results just aren’t there. Which is why I don’t have the confidence. I think I just have to preserve it.
“I don’t think I’m defending well enough. My defence is not as good as it used to be. And I am making a lot of mistakes. I don’t have the confidence to rally and I’m pushing to put the point away,” he added.
However, changing his defensive style, or even taking a break from badminton, was not something that crossed his mind.
“I never thought about taking time off. I don’t know how many players in badminton take time off. It’s not a bad idea if I could. But it’s probably not very realistic.
“I want to find the new me, one that is much, much better than before.”