Former World No 1 Datuk Lee Chong Wei, drawn in the bottom half in next year’s World Championships in Jakarta from Aug 10-16 is in the “right frame of mind” to face the challenge in his mission to win his first ever world title.
“I have no pressure in facing the challenge in Jakarta. I am no more the world No 1 and this has taken off the pressure. The focus is not on me this time,” said the 33-year-old Malaysian after Tuesday’s draw for the world meet.
Chong Wei’s first round opponent is virtually unknown Kestutis Navickas of Lithuania. Others in the same half of the draw are third seed K. Srikanth of India, eighth seed Wang Zhengming of China, 12th seed Marc Zwiebler (Germany), 13th seed Hu Yun (Hong Kong) together with Japan’s Kenichi Tago, who is also unseeded.
World No 1 and hot favourite Chen Long of China, who is also the defending champion is in the top half and has Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen, Japan’s Kento Momota, Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto together with Malaysia’s former Asian and world junior champion Zulfadli Zulkifli for company.
“I am very focused on this year’s world championships and I hope to do well,” said Chong Wei, a two-time runner-up in the world meet, whose silver medal at the last world championships in Copenhagen was withdrawn after he was tested positive for a drug offence.
Chong Wei, who lost to Cheng Long in last year’s final, was also runners-up in Wembley in 2011 and in Gungzhou (2013), losing to Lin Dan on both occasions.
After coming back from his suspension the Malaysian won back to back titles – the US Open in New York and the Canada Open in Calgary. Chong Wei, however, was beaten by Chen Long in three-set thriller in the Taiwan Open quarter-finals.