Up until his retirement against Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in the Singapore Open semifinals in June, Kunlavut Vitidsarn had somewhat established a rhythm that saw him become the first men’s singles shuttler to win two HSBC BWF World Tour titles this season.
Success at the Thailand Open was his second after taking the India Open in January, building on his runner-up finish at last year’s World Championships. In New Delhi, he also did what no one has in two years – better Viktor Axelsen in a final. It was the Thai’s first win in seven against the Dane.
But just how happy is Vitidsarn with his progress since his impressive showing in Tokyo 12 months ago?
“I’m satisfied with my defensive game, it’s pretty solid,” he admitted. “But you know, now that my opponents have studied my style, I must add more weapons to my game. The offensive game is something I’m working on to make sure I have all the tools against the best players.”
Vitidsarn made his comeback from the shoulder injury that forced him out in Singapore at the Canada Open but lost in the opening round to Lakshya Sen before bagging second place the following week at the US Open. Having since also made the Japan Open quarterfinals, how confident does the world No.3 feel ahead of the TotalEnergies BWF World Championships 2023?
“My confidence hasn’t been affected but I’ve had to work on my game because of the injury,” said the three-time world junior champion. “Lack of practice meant the precision suffered a little. By the US Open, the injury had completely healed. I was able to return to training full-time and the focus has been on getting ready for the Worlds.”
Seeded third in Copenhagen – he was 16th last year – Vitidsarn is now touted as among the genuine contenders for the big prize. The 22-year-old, who opens his campaign against Brazilian Jonathan Matias, considers himself an underdog.
“I don’t see myself as a top contender because my form is still not at its best. That said, it’s my dream to be a world champion at the senior level. Pressure from expectations is always around but it’s up to me to deal with it. I will continue working hard and make sure I show up in Denmark.”