Tze Yong will need some time to win titles

KUALA LUMPUR: Men's singles coach Hendrawan is urging patience from all parties, emphasising that world No. 15 Ng Tze Yong still has a journey ahead before he can transform into a title-winning shuttler.

Tze Yong, who turns 23 in May this year, has consistently progressed throughout 2023, securing occasional upset wins and regularly reaching the quarter-finals.

He has grown accustomed to defeating notable opponents such as the world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, Indonesia's Jonatan Christie, and Taiwan's Chou Tien Chen.

However, in most cases, Tze Yong falters in the subsequent rounds.

Having completed two full seasons on the World Tour, Tze Yong is yet to claim a victory, with his best result to date being a runner-up finish at the Arctic Open.

The lingering question now is when Tze Yong will finally come of age.

Even Hendrawan, with his extensive coaching experience, having guided Lee Chong Wei to the 2016 Rio Olympic silver medal and Lee Zii Jia to the 2021 All England title, finds himself unable to provide a definitive answer.

For Hendrawan, Tze Yong isn't inherently as physically powerful as Chong Wei and Lee Zii Jia, requiring additional time for development.

"There has been improvement in Tze Yong's game over the past year. He possesses the necessary skills, enabling him to challenge opponents and secure upset wins," said Hendrawan.

"But the challenge lies in sustaining a consistent level of performance and winning matches in succession. Currently, our focus is on stabilizing his game by enhancing his fitness and strength.

"The question of how quickly this development will happen has been ongoing, especially since the retirement of Datuk (Chong Wei). People eagerly awaited Zii Jia's rise to match Datuk's prowess, and now, with Zii Jia departing the national team, all eyes are on Tze Yong.

"Every player is unique, and I am committed to doing my best to nurture him. Tze Yong, once prone to first-round exits, has shown progress by advancing to quarter-finals, semi-finals, and finals.

"We will continue pushing for him to secure a title, and Tze Yong shares this ambition. As a coach, I am eager to expedite the process, but we must proceed with caution, mindful of the risk of injury."

Hendrawan expressed anticipation for Tze Yong's progress at the upcoming Malaysia Open after a focused one-month preparation aimed at building physical endurance and strength.

Due to a crowded tournament schedule in the second half of last year, Tze Yong couldn't devote quality training hours.

Experienced physical trainer Roesdi Abdul Ghani, pivotal in maintaining Chong Wei's peak condition throughout his career, has been aiding Tze Yong since November.

Tze Yong is set to begin his campaign at the Axiata Arena against Japan's Koki Watanabe.

In the last edition, his run concluded in the last 16 against eventual runner-up Kodai Naraoka of Japan.

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