FOLLOWING a two-year absence, the Super 750 Malaysia Open made a grand comeback at the Axiata Arena last week.
Sold-out tickets, a Malaysian carnival and a long list of badminton's biggest stars gracing the event made it a fantastic affair.
What turned out to be a letdown were the Malaysian shuttlers, who failed to show up on home soil.
World No 5 men's singles Lee Zii Jia and other household names like Tokyo Olympics bronze medallists Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik dished out under-par performances, failing to make it count when it mattered.
Having drawn criticism recently for a snub on the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Zii Jia suffered a shocking second-round exit in the hands of Indonesia's Shesar Hiren Rhustavito. Aaron-Wooi Yik, who have yet to break their title drought, were humiliated in the semi-finals by eventual champions Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi of Japan.
Also failing to come good were German Open champions Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani and world No 10 women's doubles Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah.
Malaysia started the competition with 10 men's doubles pairs in the main draw, yet only two reached the semi-final stage.
For the record, the last men's doubles to win the Malaysia Open were Goh V Shem-Lim Khim Wah, achieved in 2014.
National doubles coaching director Rexy Mainaky noted that players will need to work on themselves or it would be the same old script over and over again.
"They need to do their homework. Re-watch old matches, and see what worked, and what didn't.
"To be No 1, you cannot rely on luck. I am like a doctor, I can give the medication, but I cannot force you to take it. It's the same case here.
"The players also need to be honest when communicating with us coaches. Tell us what you're thinking, and let's work this out together," said Rexy.
All eyes will once again be on these players as they take to the Axiata Arena again, this time for the Super 500 Malaysia Masters, which get underway today.
However, fans will be disappointed to know that big names like Zii Jia, world No 1 Viktor Axelsen and top men's doubles Hoki-Kobayashi will not compete after withdrawing.