Lee Chong Wei has declared he will step on court on Tuesday, strive to find his feet quickly and win the first big point for his side Mumbai Masters against Krrish Delhi Smashers in the Vodafone-Indian Badminton League at the brand new indoor facility of the National Sports Club of India.
His teammates, including three-time All England women’s winner Tine Baun, were delighted at the good news. So was P. Gopi Chand, who introduced the Mumbai Masters team at a press conference.
Ever since Wei retired with cramps in the third game of the World championship final against China’s Lin Dan at Guangzhou, the air was thick with doubts of the Malaysian World No. 1 recovering in time to play a meaningful role in Masters’ campaign.
But Wei, who arrived here on Sunday afternoon with his and team coach Tey Seu Bock, soon got down to business with serious workouts with teammates.
Clearly Wei’s presence will be a big boost for Masters after their mixed results against Banga Beats (win) and Pune Pistons (loss).
The home camp will now have to mull over the choice of the second men’s singles player. On the face of it Russian Vladimir Ivanov, having won both his singles against Beats and Pistons, may turn out to be the automatic choice.
But coach Bock, Wei and the team think-tank, may consider an option in German and European champion Marc Zweibler.
In spite of losing matches to Tai Tzu Ying and Juliane Schenk, 34-year-old Baun is hopeful of turning it around against Smashers. “I retired after the All England last year and I lack match practice. But after two matches I am getting better. Mumbai is like our home and I hope we will get good support,” she said.
Smashers’ Sai Praneeth has already impressed with a fine win over Taufik Hidayat and he and his teammates will have to make a collective effort to upset Masters.