Malaysian badminton is great Lee Chong Wei knows exactly how hard it is to stay in top shape.
During his 19-year career, he endured devastating defeats, stubborn injuries and even battled cancer to become one of his country’s best players on the world stage.
The three-time Olympic silver medalist and world runner-up, who retired in 2019, closely follows his compatriot Lee Zii Jia which fell out of Indonesian Champions 2023 second round on Thursday (January 26).
Since winning the Asian title and the Thailand Open last May, Lee Zii Jia has only reached one final and has failed to make it to the round of 16 at least six times.
This latest early elimination gave the former world No. 1 cause for concern.
“I know Zii Jia is having a hard time right now, but she has my support all the way,” said Chong Wei Malaysia staradding, “I’ve been there … it can be lonely and it’s easy to lose focus.”
Chong Wei on Zii Jia playing without a coach
Zii Jia finished second in the Indonesia Masters tournament he went to Ng Ka Long Angus Hong Kong in China in three matches.
This continued his poor start into 2023 after being knocked out in the first round at the Malaysia Open and losing in the second round of the India Open.
The 24-year-old is without a coach with whom he has parted ways Indra Wijaya last November and is based on the advice of a former top 10 player Liw Daren.
It’s a situation that Chong Wei finds worrying.
“I have no idea what happened between him and his former coach, but he must first resolve all external distractions that may affect his form on court. I just hope he doesn’t lose interest in the game,” he said.
“I trained under the supervision of many coaches. The national body will select the coaches and the players will follow what the coaches bring in. If I feel I need extra training or a change to my program, I will talk to my coach about it.
And he gave a warning to the former world number two who did dropped to 19th place in the ranking.
“I agree that players do most of the work in training, but without a coach you can’t live. Even the biggest tennis stars have coaches… and it’s the same with all sports.
“Coaches can also be good motivators and can analyze matches.”
When asked if he had considered training Zia Jia, he jokingly replied, “Right now, all I can do is motivate him to achieve greatness. Maybe.
“I want to see Zii Jia do well like all the other former players. We want what’s best for him and we want to see him make the country proud.”
“I want to encourage him to forget all the early round losses and start over, especially with the Olympic Qualifying season just around the corner,” Lee Chong Wei for The Star.