It’s been almost eight months since the world last saw Super Dan in action. So, it’s no surprise that everyone will be closely following Lin Dan’s exploits at the Asian Badminton Championships in Taiwan from April 16-21
And Malaysia’s national singles coach Tey Seu Bock is one of them.
In fact, Seu Bock said he would not be surprised to see the four-time world champion and two-time Olympic champion getting off to a brilliant start despite the long break.
Lin Dan has been entered for the regional meet with four others from China – Chen Long, Du Pengyu, Wang Zhengming and Gao Huan. Former world champion Chen Jin’s name was also listed but he has withdrawn.
Ironically, only world No. 40 Lin Dan will not be seeded among his compatriots for the tournament.
The ABC is Lin Dan’s first tournament since his sensational win over world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei in the final of the London Olympic Games in August.
The long absence has seen the 29-year-old Lin Dan’s ranking plunge from No. 2 to No. 40 in the world – despite the fact that he has won every major title in the world.
But let’s not get too far ahead. Let’s see if Lin Dan shows up or not first, says Seu Bock.
“China have entered his name but we’re not sure if he’ll even play. He had withdrawn from tournaments before,” said Seu Bock.
“But if he shows up, I don’t think he’ll be under-prepared. We’ll probably see him play at 80% of his best. Usually, the top players do not show a drastic drop in form. He’ll be the most dangerous unseeded player in the meet.”
Lin Dan is drawn in the lower half with second seed Du Pengyu, third seed Hu Yun of Hong Kong, fifth seed Nguyen Tine Minh and ninth seed Liew Daren. In the top half, the favourite to enter the final is reigning All-England champion Chen Long.
Meanwhile, Seu Bock has more pressing matters on his mind – like trying to revive Chong Wei’s confidence after his semi-final loss to 2009 World Junior champion Tian Houwei in the Australian Open Grand Prix in Sydney last week.
Seu Bock believes that China are using different players with different styles to demoralise Chong Wei.
“Houwei played a different game against Chong Wei and it caught our man off guard. Besides, Chong Wei was not at his best. But it’s a minor setback,” said Seu Bock.
“Like Lin Dan, Chong Wei has a strong will and should be back at his best in no time.”