His performance continues to be other-worldly, but Viktor Axelsen insisted that he’s not from another planet.
The Dane had just picked up his second world title at the TotalEnergies BWF World Championships 2022, taking his unbeaten victory streak to 37, and adding to his phenomenal recent successes. With his win on Sunday, Axelsen now simultaneously holds the Olympic, World Championships, BWF World Tour Finals, and the last three Super 1000 titles.
Yet, Axelsen laughed, he’s very much from Planet Earth.
“It’s a fun statement. But I can tell you that I am from this world, coming from this planet. But I see it as people believing in me, and they think that I’m a good player and it gives me a lot of motivation. But to be honest, my full focus is on my own game, my own development, and I just try to do my best every single day. I’m really proud about all the support. I’m really fortunate. It’s a big privilege for me to be in this position where I can play in front of so many fans and my family and perform under this pressure and accomplish all my goals and dreams.”
Axelsen was expected to prevail over Kunlavut Vitidsarn, and he did, but he was required to step up a level in the second game. Vitidsarn, having been blown away in the opening game, exerted greater control in the second, mixing his shots and keeping Axelsen on edge. The phase didn’t last, for Axelsen pounced on the half-chances, and some astonishing defensive returns had Vitidsarn shaking his head in disbelief. The momentum swung right back, and Axelsen closed it out 21-5 21-16.
“I’m really happy about how I managed to control and to deal with everything in there,” said Axelsen. “Obviously, I was also the favourite and there was a lot of pressure on me. But I managed to perform under this pressure, and I’m really proud of myself.
“I came out really strongly. I controlled the court really well. I controlled the drift really well. It was slower today than yesterday on the side I started on and I think that came as a surprise to both of us. But yeah, I stepped up really well and Kunlavut came on really strong in the second game with a good game plan. But I turned the table around a little bit after the 11-point interval.”
Having regained the world crown for his sixth title of the year, what next for the Olympic and world champion?
“I always try to focus on my process. I want to become as good as I possibly can. I still have a long road ahead of me. I try to take every day as it comes and try to get better and better every day. And you know, I still feel like I can become a better player. And that’s my main goal.”