Zii Jia wants a title before taking a holiday

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's No 1 men's singles player Lee Zii Jia is looking forward to a holiday after a long and challenging season.

But before he enjoys his well-deserved break, the 25-year-old world No 11 wants to give it one last push at the China Masters in Shenzhen, his last outing for the year.

Zii Jia survived a close shave today when he defeated his former national teammate, Ng Tze Yong, 21-15, 20-22, 21-17 in the opening round, extending his winning record against the world No. 14 to 3-0.

Zii Jia, who has come under criticism for several controversial issues this year, told the Badminton World Federation in a post-match interview that he needs to recharge and regain his confidence ahead of the 2024 season, which includes the Paris Olympics.

"As this is the last tournament of the season, I want to try and put all my effort into it.

"It has not been a good year for me. From the start of the year, my performance was really bad, and it was only in the last few performance that I started regaining some confidence.

"Next year there is the Olympics, so it's more important for me to get back that confidence," said Zii Jia, who will next play China's Lu Guang Zu.

Zii Jia, who recently surprised everyone in saying "no" to joining the Sports Ministry's Road to Gold programme, disclosed that since Wong Tat Meng joined his professional Team LZJ as coach, the goal is to make him an all-round player.

"Coach Tat Meng has been working a lot on court strategy. His focus is to make me an all-round player.

"The thing is we haven't had much time to train because of the crazy schedule. In fact, this year I competed in 24 tournaments, the most in my career," added Zii Jia, who won the Arctic Open last month.

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