Pearly and Thinaah back as friends, coach confirms

KUALA LUMPUR: If there was an issue between top women's doubles players Pearly Tan and M. Thinaah, it is now resolved.

According to national women's doubles coach Hoon Thien How, the pair had an on-court misunderstanding in their first-round defeat to South Korea's Jeong Na Eun-Kim Hye Jeong at the China Masters last week.

In the match aired live, fans quickly noticed the lack of communication between the players, who are good friends.

Concerns arose about a potential serious fallout, especially since they are medal prospects at next year's Paris Olympics.

On Tuesday, Thien How provided reassurance that there was no reason to panic.

"To be honest, misunderstandings between partners are not uncommon.

"I would be more worried if the players had no misunderstandings at all. When you call your partner out or are unhappy about something, it shows your desire to win.

"Pearly-Thinaah are very serious about winning, so they may have had a brief moment on the court.

"There is no need to panic or blow this out of context. After the match that day, I spoke to them, and the matter has been put to bed," said Thien How at the Academy Badminton Malaysia in Bukit Kiara.

Thien How, a former national men's doubles player, said Pearly-Thinaah were unfortunate not to win a title this season and only missed out on the US$2 million (RM9.3 million) season-ending World Tour Finals in Hangzhou next month due to Pearly's injuries, leading them to skip a few tournaments.

"Two finals and four semi-finals, that's not too bad. Unfortunately, they couldn't win a title this season due to injuries to Pearly.

"This is why they missed out on qualifying for the World Tour Finals. Right now, they are on a one-week break. I am glad that Pearly has not experienced any pain in the last two tournaments. That's a good sign as next year is important with the Olympics being the target.

"At the Olympics, anything can happen. There are so many factors to consider, so it's an open affair," added Thien How.

World No. 12 Pearly-Thinaah will next compete at the Super 1000 Malaysia Open, scheduled on Jan 9-14 at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil.

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