Viktor still has what it takes to land third straight Malaysian Open title

PETALING JAYA: Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen has warned that his best is yet to come ahead of the season opener, the Malaysian Open from Jan 9-14 in Bukit Jalil.

The world No. 1 and reigning Olympic champion captured seven titles last year despite struggling with some injury issues.

Axelsen, who will turn 30 five days before the Malaysian tourney kicks off, aims to reach peak condition in time to defend his Olympics gold in Paris in July.

“Looking back at the past three years, the only period in which I was able to really prepare and train without any minor injuries or sickness whatsoever was leading up to the Tokyo Olympics and after the Games in 2021,” said Axelsen via social media.

Banana skin for the champ?: Singapore’s Loh Kean Yew could be a tricky first-round opponent for Viktor Axelsen.Banana skin for the champ?: Singapore’s Loh Kean Yew could be a tricky first-round opponent for Viktor Axelsen.

“My goal in 2024 is getting as much high quality training but with a balanced approach in preparation for the Olympics.

“Being completely honest, I haven’t really peaked since the Tokyo Games, so my aim is to do whatever I can to do the same in Paris.”

Axelsen, who has been one of the most outstanding players in the last few seasons, will be out to get off to a good start this year by capturing the Malaysian Open title for the third consecutive year.

The Dane though faces a stern test from the likes of China’s Shi Yuqi, reigning All-England champion Li Shifeng, Japan’s world No. 2 Kodai Naraoka, Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie and Anthony Ginting.

Axelsen also has a tricky opening match against Singapore’s 2021 world champion Loh Kean Yew to contend with.

Yuqi, Anthony and Jonatan are the other seeded players in Axelsen’s half of the draw.

Meanwhile, home hopes will be on world No. 11 Lee Zii Jia and world No. 15 Ng Tze Yong,

Zii Jia will play China’s Lu Guangzu in the first round while Tze Yong will open his campaign against Japan’s Koki Watanabe.


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