I am a great fan of Chong Wei Lee.
And I have seen his matches very closely. Just to tell you, how big a fan I am, I have travelled more than 1500 kilometres to watch him play in the Super Series. And I have done it twice. I have seen all his big matches live on television.
Lin Chong Wei and Lin dan
Image Source : thestar.com
He is an amazing player. He is fit. He is fit even now; perhaps, quite rare for someone who is 33 years of age. In badminton terms, if you have crossed 30, then you are considered past your prime.
What separates him from the rest is his supreme fitness, and his ability to change gears. If you compare him with Lin Dan, then I don’t think there is any difference, technique wise, or the speed. Yes, Lin Dan might have better stamina, but that hardly matters. The only difference that I see is the psychological edge Lin Dan has. Lin Dan is psychologically stronger than Lee. That is one reason, why Lee faces defeat, even though he has been in winning situations.
The one match that comes to my mind is the Olympics final. It was one game apiece. Chong Wei Lee had clear advantage in the final game. He was leading 19-18, and then he commits a fatal error. He leaves the shuttle, thinking that it will go over the line, but the shuttle just lands in. if you look at that rally, he could easily have won it. Instead of standing at Match point, it became 19 all. And from there Lin Dan just took over, and finished the game. From 19 all, Lee tried to play defensively, which proved fatal.
I have followed him in many matches. And I have seen him play defensively when he has slender chances to win matches, especially against Lin Dan. Even against Chen Long in the 2014 World Championships, Lee could have won that battle, but he was very passive at crucial points. He leaves his attacking instincts behind at big points. I know he is wary of Chen Long’s defensive abilities, but still, Chong Wei should know that he is at his best when he attacks. His entire game revolves around his attacking game.
Once he loses his attacking instincts, he starts losing his belief. I still believe, Chong Wei Lee is the best, but the lack of important titles might suggest otherwise. Don’t forget, he has won the most number of Super Series events in the history of the game.
A little psychological adjustment can still win him big titles. I think he has to stop thinking about losing the important finals. He should play as if he plays any of the super series events. I saw Lee beat Lin Dan in the All England finals in straight sets. If he can do it in All England, which is still as good as any of the badminton tournaments in the world, then why can’t he in a World Championships or Olympics.
By Rajiv Sighamony