PETALING JAYA: Despite the lack of star power, next week’s Denmark Open is expected to generate huge excitement among badminton fans and players.
The US$750,000 (RM3.12mil) event which starts next Tuesday in Odense is, after all, the first top-flight World Tour event to be held since the All-England in March.
And it is also the only tournament to be played for the remainder of the season.
However, world No. 10 Lee Zii Jia (pic) is not excited and said he has no intention of watching the event on television.
“Since I’m not playing, I don’t really pay attention to the tournament, ” replied Zii Jia when asked if he plans to catch his rivals in action.
“I hardly watch any matches when I’m not competing. Right now, I’m just focusing on my training.
“In fact, I don’t even know the tournament is starting next week until you mentioned it.”
Zii Jia believes the latest withdrawal of top Japanese shuttlers, including world No. 1 Kento Momota, will further dilute the tournament of its quality.
Malaysia, China, Indonesia, South Korea and Thailand have decided against travelling to Denmark.
Meanwhile, Zii Jia will have to wait until January to resume his quest to qualify for the World Tour Finals.
Thailand will host two Open meets, followed by the season-ending Finals, which is only for the top-eight singles and pairs after the completion of the regular season.
Missing the Denmark Open is not expected to hurt Zii Jia’s chances to qualify as the Badminton World Federation have relaxed their ruling that required players to play both the European and Asian legs to be eligible.
Zii Jia is currently fifth in the singles standings.