KUALA LUMPUR: Having secured their long-awaited breakthrough on the World Tour recently, Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik now aim to achieve another milestone by becoming the world No. 1 for the first time.
With less than 1,800 points separating them from China's newly minted world No. 1, Liang Wei Keng-Wang Chang, the Malaysian duo know that a few more strong performances could help them realise their lifelong ambitions of becoming the world No. 1.
That goal, along with the aim of securing back-to-back wins following their Denmark Open triumph, is what Aaron-Wooi Yik are carrying into their next tournament, the Kumamoto Masters in Japan from Nov 14-19.
They are also slated to compete in the China Masters in Shenzhen from Nov 21-26.
"The recent victory in Denmark has definitely spurred us on to achieve more. In fact, our mindset remains the same, to go to each tournament with the aim of winning," said Aaron.
"Nothing has really changed. When we were still without a title, we were hoping to get that maiden win, and now that we have achieved it, the next goal is to secure multiple victories.
"Alongside that, of course, becoming world No. 1 is also one of our targets. Attaining the world No. 1 ranking is one of the greatest achievements for any badminton player in their careers. It's within striking distance, and we want to do our best to get there."
The last Malaysian men's pair to attain world No. 1 status were Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong. They achieved it in October 2016 and held onto the top spot for 18 straight weeks.
Aaron-Wooi Yik came close to emulating them when they first reached a career-best No. 2 in January this year.
They held that position for 14 straight weeks before dropping out, and they have returned to that position only this week, thanks to a string of recent good results.
Aaron added that Wooi Yik and he are also eager to secure a spot in the top eight for the season-ending World Tour Finals in Hangzhou in December.
With the prize purse increased by 25 per cent to US$2 million (RM9.48 million), shuttlers are all determined to qualify.
The main attraction goes beyond prize money, as qualifying for the World Tour Finals alone guarantees at least world ranking points equivalent to those of quarter-finalists in a Super 1000 tournament.
"We're currently ranked No. 5 and on course to qualify, so the next two tournaments will be crucial for us to secure our spot," said Aaron.
"We're determined not only to qualify but to perform well. We've qualified twice before, but we failed to advance past the group stage.
"It's important for us to conclude the season on a high note and enter the new year with renewed optimism."