It has been 10 months since Shi Yu Qi last played international badminton, but the former World Championships silver medallist said he wasn’t nervous about his form.
Shi’s last match was in the semifinals of the Thomas Cup in October 2021, when he retired at 20-22 5-20 down to Kento Momota, following which he was suspended by Chinese Badminton Association. With the suspension revoked, Shi will feature in the top quarter of the draw, where he is likely to face Rasmus Gemke and Anthony Ginting before a potential quarterfinal with Viktor Axelsen.
“Overall I’m still feeling pretty good,” Shi said. “I’ve been staying active and I’ve been playing well and I’m really happy to be in Tokyo. I’m not too nervous. I’m just trying to learn from all my opponents. Because this is a high level tournament, I have a lot to learn from players like Viktor, Momota and Ginting, and a few others too.”
Having missed competitive action for several months, how did he keep his motivation up?
“I was playing matches during training, so that helped me stay motivated. My preparation included watching videos of my matches, and many other things.”
One player has dominated the headlines over the last several months – Viktor Axelsen. What did Shi Yu Qi make of the world No.1’s progress?
“I did not think a lot about Viktor, but there’s so much to learn from him. But it’s also important that I stay confident in my own abilities.”
Will a new Shi Yu Qi be unveiled at the World Championships?
“It depends, but people should be excited and look forward to it.”