'What's going on in their heads?'

AS far as Malaysian badminton is concerned, it has become somewhat of a norm for players to stumble in the late stages - the semi-finals or final.

BA of Malaysia (BAM) doubles coaching director Rexy Mainaky believes the problem lies with the players' mindset.

Rexy has also urged his charges, namely Malaysia's No 1 men's doubles Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik and German Open champions Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani to be honest when communicating their issues with the coaching staff.

Yesterday, both pairs crashed out in the semi-finals of the Malaysia Open, ending Malaysia's interest in the Super 750 event at Axiata Arena.

Aaron-Wooi Yik, played second fiddle for the fifth time in seven meetings to reigning world champions, Takuro Hoki-Wakana-Yugo Kobayashi of Japan, while Sze Fei-Izzuddin suffered a sixth defeat in seven meetings to Indonesia's Fajar Alfian-Muhammad Rian Ardianto.

For Aaron-Wooi Yik, it was their fourth semi-final exit this season, and a second for Sze Fei-Izzuddin.

"Overall, I am happy with our pairs and their performances, but only up until the quarter-finals. The problem after that is what we need to solve," said Rexy.

"I really don't know what is going on in their heads. Are they thinking too much about wanting to win? An all Malaysian final?

"There are just too many 'what ifs' that they can't seem to shake off when they're just one or two more matches away from winning it all.

"Our players get easily distracted, they go into this self panic mode.

"They have to be honest in their communication with us, coaches, tell us what's wrong because we don't know what's going on in their heads," Rexy lamented.

The former Olympic champion from Indonesia also wants his players to learn from the in-form Hoki-Kobayashi, and Fajar-Rian, who have been going great guns in recent times.

"I want our pairs to learn from the Japanese and Indonesian pairs. You don't see them crumbling under pressure like we do.

"How did Aaron-Wooi Yik let slip an 18-14 lead in the first game, and how did the Japanese pair not lose their cool when they were trailing? Are our players even analysing their own wins in the past? Because as world class players, you can think it's luck.

"I will do my homework, because it is also my responsibility to try and communicate positively, not only when things are going well but also when they aren't.

"We still have a few days before the Malaysia Masters, I want the players to go out and try to play like they have nothing to lose.

"If they can do that, we have a chance, if not, we're going to lose again," said Rexy.

Sze Fei-Izzuddin are up against Fajar-Rian in the first round of the Malaysia Masters this week while Aaron-Wooi Yik will take on Japanese duo Akira Koga-Taichi Saito.

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