ISKANDAR BUOYANT DOWN UNDER
Ready to deliver if given chance to play against Japan
FABIAN PETER firstname.lastname@example.org
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.