Although he was happy with Malaysia’s title triumph at the Asia Team Championships, Lee Zii Jia did not want the rest of the national team to get too carried away.
Lee, now competing as an independent shuttler, knew that the team's maiden win at the Asian event was made easier by the level of quality from their opponents, all of whom were shorn of their top shuttlers.
“We have to bear in mind that even though we won, the other teams had sent their second stringers. We should not celebrate until we get carried away. I would say that we had performed to expectations.
“We can celebrate for a day or two, but after that we must prepare for the Thomas Cup where the level of competition will be more intense,” said Lee after Malaysia beat Indonesia 3-0 to lift the trophy.
The world number seven had gone through a tumultuous last few weeks regarding his decision to leave the national body that eventually panned out well for all parties.
Lee had to bear with a lot of expectations coming into this tournament, but he did well to win all four of his matches despite having to come from behind against Japan, South Korea and Indonesia.
His victory over world champion Loh Kean Yew in the first match particularly stood out, as he came out guns blazing to win 21-6, 21-14.
National coaching director Wong Choong Hann, who was on the sidelines each time Lee played, was happy with the shuttler’s contribution.
“He played well, his performance was stable throughout. He was taken to three games in most of his matches, but that was expected given the situation with the hall [the wind drift].
“I thought he coped with the tournament situation and the expectations of himself well,” he said.
Lee is set to begin his individual season at the German Open (March 8-13), followed by his title defence at the All-England Championships (March 16-20).
He may not have the services of his new coach Indra Wijaya by then, as the Indonesian’s contract with the national body only ends on March 31.
But Lee mentioned about finalising his full team, including his sponsors and support team, before jetting off to Europe.