Tue, 09 Nov 1999

Hendrawan picks Asian Cup to build waning confidence

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesia's men's singles shuttler Hendrawan is aiming to rebuild his motivation and confidence in the upcoming JVC Asia Cup in Ho Chi Minh City this week.

"For me, the Asia Cup is an important event to show my quality as a world-class shuttler. This year I haven't shown a great performance in some tournaments. I could not perform my best game. I found that badminton was not challenging anymore," he told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

"In the Asia Cup, I'll just try to win all my matches. I consider it a challenge for me," he said.

Hendrawan, now world number 11, will fly to Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday with world number three Taufik Hidayat and the world's second best pair of Candra Wijaya and Tony Gunawan. The Asia Cup will take place from Nov. 10 to Nov. 14.

Indonesia is in the same group with South Korea, Thailand and host Vietnam. The toughest rivals will come from South Korea, especially its doubles of Kim Dong-moon and Ha Tae-kwon, the 1999 world champions. Thailand's doubles of Pramote Teerawiwatana and Tesana Pansisavas are another threat to Indonesia's All England champion. Both Indonesian singles of Taufik and Hendrawan will likely have no tough rivals in the group matches.

In another group, top seeded China has a great chance to defeat Malaysia, India and Chinese Taipei as world number one Sun Jun is competing. Malaysia will put its hope on young shuttlers, including Yong Hock Kin and Jason Wong in the singles.

Hendrawan said the Asia Cup was a part of his strategy to compete in the Grand Prix Finals in Brunei Darussalam from Dec. 1 to Dec. 5.

"In the Grand Prix Finals, I always have problems overcoming my opponents in early matches as I am a slow starter. I have to be realistic to qualify for the Olympic Games as my rivals don't only come from other countries, but are also my own teammates," he said.

Indonesia has Taufik, Budi Santoso, Marlev Mainaky and Hariyanto Arbi in the world top ten.

"I am the world number 11 now. Hopefully, by the end of the year my ranking won't decrease. If it does, I have to work harder next year to reach the top three among my friends to qualify for the Olympics. For now, I have to make a new commitment to regain my supremacy," he said. (yan)