Denmark will be without the services of retired great Peter Gade and injured doubles specialist Mathias Boe but star shuttler Jan Jorgensen is confident that his team has enough firepower to win a medal at the Thomas Cup which gets underway at the Siri Fort Complex on Sunday.
“Peter (who retired in 2012) has been at top of the world for 15 years. What he has done for badminton in general and
for Denmark is phenomenal. He has been an inspiration for all of us. So he not being here is a blow,” Jorgensen told PTI.
“The injury to Mathias Boe is a big loss. He went to surgery yesterday (Friday) for a hernia operation. But then I still think we have a very good team and good reserve players to fill in and go further in the tournament. We need some luck and we hope to get a medal here.
“Hans and Victor have also done well, they have both broken into top 20. Things are looking up for Danish men’s singles. We are progressing all the time,” he added.
Talking about the preparation, the current World No. 3 said, “The preparations have been really good. We want to get to the quarterfinals and hope for a good draw in the knockout stage.”
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“It is tough to face Japan in the group stage. We hope to beat Hong Kong and England and play the final game against Japan. It is going to be tight. But we want to do so much here and hope to win a medal this year.”
Jorgensen said he has got good memories of Thomas Cup and he is looking forward to his new role of being a senior player
in the team.
“I am looking forward to the responsibility. I played first in 2008, I was young and inexperienced then. So leading the team is a new role. It is the biggest tournament for us. We want to take a medal from here,” said the reigning European Champion.
“There is pressure on singles players but then there will be pressure anyway. If we have to do well then we have to play at the highest level. So it is no different we have to play well,” Jorgensen added.
Being their top player, Jorgensen will take on World No. 4 Kenechi Tago of Japan in the first singles and he said it will be a close match.
“It has always been close match. I played him in Indonesia Open in 2008. We know each other very well. So it will be very close. I hope we give everybody a good match,” he said.
Jorgensen had reached the semifinals of the Indian Open Super Series last month and he said he will look to create another good performance this time.
“I like the conditions here, I played here last month and performed well. So hope to bring that play once again here.”
Asked about the Indian team, Jorgensen said: “The strong part of Indian team is men’s singles. They are young guys but they have to perform at high level all the time.
“If they want to go far in a team championship, they have to hit the top game in like 5 or 6 matches. When you play big teams, they have hit everyone. But they lag a bit in men’s doubles compared to the rest of the top teams,” he said.
The 26-year-old said said playing in the Danish League has helped him gel with the team.
“We have a Danish league which is growing all the time. We know about the team championship. You can build on team spirit and hope that can push us forward.”
Asked if the Indian Badminton League will help, Jorgensen said: “We have played in Danish league since I was 15 years old. We do it all year round but IBL is just for 15 days, so the intensity is not the same. But of course, playing more team matches will definitely help India.”
Talking about his personal goals this year, he said: “The huge goal is World Championship but winning a medal here is
also a big target for me. I want to reach the finals of more Super Series events.”