Badminton runs in the blood of the Indonesians. Besides China, no other country has dominated the racquet sport like Indonesia and yet they have only managed to win just one Thomas Cup title in the last two decades.
The 14-time champions were denied the honour in the last edition by India, who had beaten the favourites 3-0 in the finals for their maiden win. “India has so many good players, especially in men’s singles. I think when India won the Thomas Cup, I felt maybe it was their time. “Players of Indonesia are good in ranking but that is not the key because anything can happen on the court, so it was good for India,” says world number 3 Anthony Sinisuka Ginting.
But why has the title eluded Indonesia? “I don’t know, maybe, it’s not the time yet. Thomas Cup is different from individual events. Every match, every point, everything is important. It is like a family, We needed to be solid.”
For Ginting, Thomas Cup proved to be an important turning point in his resurgence after going through a rough patch following the Tokyo Olympics high. After claiming the bronze for his country in Tokyo, Ginting was struggling to manage the burden of expectations but things changed after spending a week with his teammates in Bangkok.
“When I watched my teammates play on the court, it was a great learning for me. It was different from when I watch it on youtube because I could see all their expression and strategies.” “From the first round to the final round I learnt so much during Thomas Cup, I felt maybe I can get back,” added the 26-year-old, who had lost to Lakshya Sen in the first singles in the final.
Two months after the Thomas Cup campaign, Ginting claimed the Singapore Open and Hylo Open before claiming the silver at the season-ending World Tour Finals.
“2022 was quite challenging, with lots of ups and downs. I couldn’t do my best at the beginning of the year but after Thomas Cup, I could come back to the top. Hopefully, I can be consistent with my performance until the Olympics.” Indonesia won both the gold and bronze medals in men’s singles at the Asian Games in 2018 but it would be tougher to reclaim the glory this time, reckons Ginting.
“I think every player in the Asian Games will be tough. We see so many Asian players in the top ranking. From India, Malaysia, and Japan, each nation has 1 or 2 the best men’s singles players. It will be tough,” says the Asiad bronze winner.
“I think every Indian player has their specialities, there are so many like (Kidambi) Srikanth, Lakshya, (HS) Prannoy. I have to prepare myself before I meet them in court. “Hope I have no injuries until the Asian Games or the other big tournaments because it is an important event for me. “I want to be a champion but that is not easy. So I try hard to keep the focus on every single match like it is a final,” he signed off.