Zii Jia happy to go solo for now

KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 2 Lee Zii Jia has no plans to hire a new coach for the time being.

The 24-year-old was non-committal when he was recently asked whether he would bring in a new trainer after parting ways with Indonesian coach Indra Wijaya in November.

Zii Jia said he would continue to be assisted by teammate Liew Daren, who is also his sparring partner.

"Right now, I have Daren to assist me. What's more important is that I need to find that breakthrough (in terms of playing consistency) on my own," said Zii Jia.

"I have not been able to find the answer (on consistency) yet. I'm working hard towards that."

When Zii Jia turned professional last year, many badminton fans were excited at the prospect of seeing the 2021 All England winner joining forces with world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen at the latter's training base in Dubai.

Zii Jia, however, downplayed the chances of him training overseas.

"We are bracing ourselves for a very busy schedule, so, I don't think I have the luxury of time to be able to train abroad," added Zii Jia.

"Maybe when there's a stretch of tournaments in Europe for example, then I would consider going one week earlier to train there."

Zii Jia's ability to compete without a coach will be put to the test at the season-opening Petronas Malaysia Open on Jan 10-15.

The second seed has a tricky opening encounter against Japan's rising star, Kodai Naraoka.

Should he advance, he could face former national teammate Ng Tze Yong in the last 16.

"It will be an interesting match for the local fans. I think everyone will be looking forward to watch the top-two Malaysians playing each other at home," said Zii Jia.

Tze Yong will face Ireland's Nhat Nguyen in his opening round match.

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