THOMAS CUP: Doubles ace confident of doing well
THE Thomas Cup, more often than not, preys on most top players but Koo Kien Keat feels at home competing in the prestigious team event and is looking forward to a successful outing in the finals in Wuhan on May 20-27.
Kien Keat, who has played in four previous campaigns since 2004 with with different partners, will be forming Malaysia's first doubles with Tan Boon Heong for a third time.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong lost to the same opponents -- Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng -- in the semi-final stage against China in 2008 and 2010 where Malaysia lost on both occasions and their tie will be crucial this time with Lee Chong Wei and Hafiz Hashim the only players with Thomas Cup experience.
They have not recovered completely from their slump but Kien Keat-Boon Heong's encouraging performance in the qualifying rounds in Macau indicates they can surprise a few top pairs in Wuhan.
"I have never felt pressure nor am I playing in the Thomas Cup for the first time. I feel comfortable playing in this event and this will be our best chance to test our level against top pairs before the Olympics," said Kien Keat.
"Winning the first singles and first doubles is important for Malaysia. I always feel easy in the Thomas Cup and hope to put my experience to good use.
"There is also a possibility we may be split for tactical reasons but I will be ready if we play as a pair.
"We have not played Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen (of Denmark) or Cai Yun-Haifeng in a while so it is hard to say how we will fare but we will give it our best."
Malaysia, who are in Group C, will play South Africa on May 21 and a win will confirm their place in the quarter-finals.
They will meet Denmark in their second match on May 22 to conclude the group stage.