Ahead of their debut at the India Open (January 11-16), Malaysian shuttler Valeree Siow revealed she is referring new mixed doubles partner Chan Peng Soon, 14 years her senior at 33, as an 'uncle'.
The 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist was paired with Siow upon returning to the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) after he announced his separation with Goh Liu Ying.
“I am not used to calling him by his name because of our age difference. For me, calling him ‘uncle’ is better because it is more respectful,” said Siow.
The decision to partner one of the most senior shuttlers with one of the youngest in the national set-up was an intriguing prospect.
Siow was one of the more prominent shuttlers on the international scene last year, winning three titles in Europe at the Slovenia, Latvia and Hellas International 2021.
Despite being fundamentally a women’s doubles shuttler, the 19-year-old also bagged a mixed doubles title with Roy King at the Lavia International.
Siow would continue to be on double duties this year at the women’s and mixed doubles.
Chan, meanwhile, admitted it was a change of pace training with the juniors after returning to the national team.
“Yes I am a bit tired. The young players are fast and there are many programmes, so I am just trying to adapt to it. As for me teaming up with Valeree, age is not a problem, but communication will be vital.
“She is young and needs to make some adjustments to play a mixed doubles shuttler. There are some skills she will take getting used to, especially playing at the front court,” he said.
The pair already began preparing for the India Open in New Delhi, and Chan expects them to make the last eight at the least.
“I don’t think reaching the quarter-finals is a problem. We are playing an Indian pair whom I have never faced before, so I think we should be able to get through the first two rounds at least,” he added.