KUALA LUMPUR • Despite being beset by conflicts and injuries, Malaysian badminton star Lee Chong Wei will play at the March 7-12 All England Championships.
The world No. 1 said yesterday that he will probably feature at the prestigious tournament for a final time, even though he is still recovering from a knee injury. This will also be his first appearance this year after a three-month break.
"My last stint was in Dubai (Superseries in December last year), so this edition of the All England Championships will probably be my last before retirement," said the 34-year-old, who won the All England title in 2010, 2011 and 2014.
"Right now, the most important thing for me is to get the 'tournament feeling'."
He slipped and fell at the new Academy Badminton Malaysia last month, tearing a medial collateral ligament in his left knee. The incident cast doubts over his All England participation and further strained his relationship with Badminton Association of Malaysia technical director Morten Frost.
Lee said that although he has not fully recovered, his doctor, physiotherapist and coach have given him the clearance to play in England.
"The injuries are not 100 per cent healed, I can still feel the pain, still feel phobic (during training), but I'm sure I can get over it and focus my mind on getting fit," he said.
"Right now, the emphasis is on mental preparation."
Lee has been installed as the top seed for the Superseries Premier event, which will be held at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham.
He has been drawn to face a qualifier in the first round and Wei Nan from Hong Kong or Wang Tzu-wei from Chinese Taipei in the second round. Barring any upsets, he is expected to meet China's Tian Houwei, the seventh seed, in the quarter-finals.
He is likely to come up against Rio Olympics gold medallist Chen Long from China - who is seeded fifth - in the semi-finals. Denmark's Jan O Jorgensen, the second seed, is tipped to make the final.