|Lee Chong Wei
Mumbai: Lee Chong Wei is yet to hit his first shuttle in the Indian Badminton League (IBL), but the world No. 1 has already proclaimed that the ongoing event is better than the prestigious and hugely competitive Chinese league.
“I have played twice in the Chinese league. This is the first time for India. We have players like Tine Baun, Mark Zweibler, Ivanov and some Indian players.
“I have played in China and I have played in India, but I think India is better. Next year I think you can do even better. Chinese league is a long one played over six months but Indian League is only three weeks,” the Malaysian said.
The winner of two Olympic silver medals said he is eager to draw first blood for his team Mumbai Masters against Krish Delhi Smashers in their match here on Tuesday.
“Tomorrow is my first match and I hope I can play well and win the first point for my team. This is no individual game but a team event. My point is very important because it will be the first point for my team,” Lee told reporters here.
The Malaysian, who retired at the World Championships final against Chinese ace and Olympic medallist Lin Dan, said he has recovered from the cramps he suffered.
“After the World Championships, I had cramps and I had to recover at any cost. I rushed to Malaysia for three days and I am here for IBL,” he added.
His team-mate Tine Baun admitted that she has been a bit rusty due to lack of match practice.
“Of course it is very difficult for me to come back to top level badminton. I had retired after the All England in March. I am getting better with each match I am playing. I will do my best.
“Two days ago I played Juliane Schenk (Pune Pistons). Even in my professional days it was difficult to beat her. It was not a good result for me. I played three games with her, so hopefully I can do better tomorrow but of course I lack match practice,” the current All-England champion said on her two losses in as many games.
Schenk said she is excited to be playing in the IBL despite the hectic schedule.
“I think it has been a very tight schedule up until now, but when we came here, we had a day’s rest. We had some practice today and play tomorrow. It will be just fine. Of course in other cities it has been hectic and stressful, but still we have managed to do well.”
“I am really excited to be in India and playing the IBL. I think the Mumbai Masters have really good team spirit, “ she said. (PTI)