All England - and then some…

Updated: Jan 6, 2021

Hey guys… And I’m back! 😉

Since German Open was cancelled, my first stop was the All England. Because of all the flight changes and cancellations that I told you about in the previous post, the trip there was a bit of a challenge. Rather than taking direct flights, I had to fly via Glasgow, then take a bus to the train station and then take a 5 hour train to Birmingham. It was a long trip but it was nice to finally arrive and get settled in the apartment so I could get ready for the following week.

I often prefer to stay in the official Tournament hotels, but they can be extremely expensive some times. Since I’m travelling and paying for 3 people it is easier to book an apartment where I can save a bit on costs and we can all stay together. Here's a nice little picture of my crew and I:

It has always been a tough draw here

Despite my frustrations and challenges leading up to the All England, I felt I had trained quite hard and was in good shape. I just needed to refocus to get back into tournament mode and do my best to manage my shoulder injury. I was determined I could still go out there and give it my all and was really looking forward to competing at the All England stadium again.

My All England draw has always been tough. My first round last year was Tai Tzu Ying, and the year before Ratchanok Intanon. This time I was up against Nozomi Okuhara who was seeded 4th. Don’t get me wrong I always love the challenge, got to beat the best to be the best right? That's why every year when All England hits, I know I have to give it my absolute best to even get past the first round. (In my opinion it's also what makes this tournament amazing.)

This year, I didn’t win. I was really disappointed with my level of play that day and it was extremely upsetting because I was feeling so good about my condition before all the bad news and issues started rolling. Obviously I don’t always expect to win, but I expect to give it my all and if I lose I hope to lose after putting up a fight. Hopefully you know me well enough to know I’m not one to seek excuses if I lose a match.

But I truly believe other than it was a very off day for me, everything including the sadness, frustration, injury and series of events leading up to the tournament really had an effect on my mindset and preparation. It takes a lot to be on your game all the time so I really respect all the top players who are consistently making results week after week. All I can say is, this is another learning experience and another obstacle to overcome for the books. I have to learn to manage and learn to separate the off court with the on court, and still perform even on the off days.

110th Anniversary

I’m honestly very sad about this year’s All England. I always look forward to it and to have it end this way was really upsetting. However, I still very much enjoyed stepping on court in the stadium. The whole setup is just amazing and of course you can’t take away all the prestige and history that comes with the tournament. This time was the 110th anniversary of the All England, which makes it the world’s oldest and most prestigious badminton tournament to date.

To celebrate the anniversary, Yonex had designed a special all white outfit for all the Yonex players to represent the long lasting history of Yonex and the All England, which in my opinion was really cool. The design goes back to their classic colors with plain white and the classic blue and green stripes… Super vintage! I’m definitely happy and blessed to even have had the opportunity to compete at such a competition and be a part of the long and glorious history of the All England. 🙂

I’ll be back in Birmingham again next year and hopefully I can bring a better performance!

The Coronavirus

I’m sure we are all affected by the Coronavirus one way or another. I just wanted to touch a bit about the impacts Coronavirus has had and will have on my schedule. Obviously, it’s always better to be safe than sorry (!) so when something like this happens - a pandemic that shuts down the world - we should listen to health authorities and make smart decisions.

As an athlete I usually have a pretty clear direction and good idea of my goals and what I’m training for. But recently with the cancellation of German Open and the suspension of Swiss, India, Malaysia, and Singapore Open - combined with talk about the potential cancellation of the Olympics - it’s really hard to ignore the feelings and confusion that stirs up inside me.

Leading up to German Open I was ready to go and was feeling good, but like I said before, the cancellation was extremely annoying to deal with and it also had a huge financial impact on me. I lost quite a bit of money just from re-booking flights 3 times for 3 people and also the accommodations booked were just money down the drain.

Either way we made it to England and still got to compete. During the week the situation with Coronavirus got worse pretty much all over the world and it was really taking off in Europe. People were talking a lot, but nobody knew what was true and what was not. We had no idea what to prepare for; what tournaments would be cancelled or which tournaments would still go on. Take German open for example, we didn’t know anything until the very last minute so it was extremely frustrating to not know and there wasn’t really much I could do about it.

I could always just decide to be safe and stay home and not participate in any of the tournaments for a little bit until the virus had settled down. But then if tournaments were still going on, I would be losing valuable ranking points leading up to the Olympics. So it was extremely difficult to find a direction and know what to do. 🤷‍♀️

The number of people infected and dying from the virus was increasing fast and to be honest, it’s definitely something that should have been taken seriously a lot earlier. Many sporting events all over the world were cancelled, and suspended till further notice. Yet, the All England was still ongoing and I was still wondering and trying to figure out if I needed to book and prepare for a tournament.

We didn’t know till Friday March 13th when BWF finally came to the decision and official statement most of us feared and expected: All tournaments from now until April 12 have been suspended. With the current situation all over the world, this is definitely the best solution, I think. It is also good a decision was made because now we have a direction and for so long we have been stuck in the middle not really knowing what we’re doing. But it’s health above all!

If you look solely on the sport side of it all, playing these tournaments would obviously have been best for players who need the ranking points to qualify for the Olympics, and also for the fans who love to watch. So this puts the upcoming Tokyo Olympics in question, but we are all hoping everything will soon get better. We still don’t know what will happen after April but for now, at least we know the priority is for us to fight this virus together.

What now?

As it looks right now, the next tournament for me will be the Pan Am Championships in Peru. After that would be the Uber Cup in Denmark in May. But….. we obviously can’t predict the development of the Coronavirus so we don’t know if these events will take place yet. But fingers crossed! 🤞

Currently, I am self-quarantined in Markham and training has been put on hold for a bit. It’s a little bit of a waiting game. We all want the situation to end as soon as possible but sometimes things are out of our control. We just got to do what we can. I want to train, I want to play tournaments, but I don’t want to risk anyone’s health because of it. So while I fully support the decision of cancelling all the upcoming events, I’m eager to be able to train and get back to the competition zone again.

I think I’ve done enough writing for now. I will hit you guys up and give you an update on what I’m doing during my quarantine weeks, but everyone please stay safe out there and do everything you can to avoid further spread of the virus!