Ready to de­liver if given chance to play against Japan

New Straits Times - - Sport -


ISKANDAR Zulka­r­nain Zain­ud­din is feel­ing up­beat, know­ing he may start in the Sudirman Cup tie against Japan on Wed­nes­day in Gold Coast, Aus­tralia.

The 26-year-old men’s sin­gles, who was side­lined for four months af­ter pick­ing up a back in­jury, will fi­nally get his chance to prove him­self ahead of the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games in Au­gust.

Iskandar, who last com­peted in the Ma­cau Open in De­cem­ber, said: “I feel good as I don’t feel pain any­more. I’m just happy to be able to make this trip.

“Ini­tially I was only sup­posed to re­turn to com­pet­i­tive ac­tion at the Thai­land Open later this month, but I man­aged to make the cut for the Sudirman Cup and now pos­si­bly get my chance to play ear­lier.

“Noth­ing has been con­firmed yet, but if I do get to play in the group stages, I have a strong feel­ing it would be against Japan.”

World No 1 Lee Chong Wei is still Malaysia’s first choice, but na­tional coach Tey Seu Bock could give Jo­hor-born Iskandar an op­por­tu­nity to take to court in the sec­ond tie as Japan have also named a young squad, es­pe­cially in men’s sin­gles.

“Chances are high that I will start against Japan, be­cause they are not ex­actly the strong­est as far as men’s sin­gles is con­cerned.

“I think we have a good chance of win­ning Group 1C and ad­vanc­ing to the knock­out stage. Our con­fi­dence is high and we are all fired up to do well,” added Iskandar.

The na­tional team have al­ready set­tled in Aus­tralia and are now pre­par­ing them­selves be­fore the open­ing tie against Ger­many on Tues­day.

At the 2013 edi­tion in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia were stunned 3-2 by the Euro­peans in the group stage, be­fore crash­ing out of the com­pe­ti­tion af­ter los­ing the sec­ond match 3-2 to Tai­wan.

Malaysia’s best ever per­for­mance in the world mixed team event was in 2009 in Guangzhou, China where they reached the semi-fi­nals.

Iskandar Zulka­r­nain Zain­ud­din was out of ac­tion for four months due to a back in­jury.

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