Interview with Hendrawan
Hendrawan born in Malang, East Java, Indonesia; June 27, 1972 is a former Chinese Indonesian badminton player.
The humble Hendrawan began playing internationally in the early 1990s. He was drafted to the national team, only at a late age of 21 years old, first was overshadowed by a number of his countrymen who rated among the world's elite players such as Joko Suprianto, Allan Budi Kusuma, Ardy Wiranata, Hariyanto Arbi and etc.
With tremendous hard work and drive he started to make a name for himself. His results gradually improved, peaking at the end of the century and the beginning of greatness with a silver medal in men's singles at the 2000 Summer Olympics and the gold medal at the 2001 IBF World Championships over Denmark's Peter Gade.
Hendrawan was an outstanding Thomas Cup (men's world team) performer for Indonesia, winning each of his championship round singles matches in the 1998, 2000, 2002 editions won by Indonesia.
1. What age did you start playing?
At 8 years old, my father was my first coach. My father plays it as a hobby and I followed him to the court quite often.
2. Was it your intention to be a professional player from the start?
Yeah, my father is a big fan of Lim Swie King and Rudy Hartono, the Indonesian legends. Ever since I was a young boy my father wants me to follow the footsteps of these legends. I'm the 3rd children in my family and another younger sister.
My elder siblings are all university graduates. When I was 18 years old, after finishing high school. My father told me, everyone can be a doctor, engineer and etc. But not everyone can be world champion. He wanted me and my sister to play badminton, that's when I strive for the goal to become a world champion.
3. When did you realize you were good enough to be a world beater?
It's all in a process, when I was 12 to 18 years old I had some results in the national junior tournaments. Reaching finals and semi-finals quite consistently. Only when I was 21 years old I entered the national team, which is quite a late age in badminton. (Hendrawan laughs).
That is when I realise I could become a world beater. When I was drafted into national team, there were so many great players like Hariyanto Arbi, Allan Budi Kusuma , Ardy Wiranata , Joko Suprianto and etc.
4. How were you noticed at the national level?
I won National Junior Championship, when I was 19 years old. Then only I went to train at PBSI but only on trial basis for 2 years. When I was 21 years old only I was officially listed in the national team and get opportunities to play international tournaments.
5. Which year were you drafted into the national squad?
21 years old, 1993
6. Have you ever considered making a name in doubles?
Haha, no not at all. I've always been a singles player. I don't have the talent in doubles. Only now when I'm coach I just play with my players, some doubles , 2 against 1 or 3 on 3 just for fun.
7. Did any of your batch mates made the same grade as you? If not, what was the reason?
Yes, during my batch there were loads of great players such as Marleve Mainaky, Hariyanto Arbi, Allan Budi Kusuma and etc. There are many who didn't make it as well. There are a lot of factors, probably lack of self motivation, discipline, training focus.
In badminton, it also not only a player has to be fighter, talent also plays a part. It's not easy as well, there's a lot of elements. Mentally and physically.
8. When you were playing professionally what's your training regime like?
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday. I have training both morning and evening sessions. Morning session are from 8am to 11am. In the evening session, would be from 3pm to 6pm. Thursday and Saturday only morning session.
9. How many years were you on the scene?
22 years old to 32 years old , 10 years
10. On your playing career which was the highlight of your career?
It has to be the World Championship 2001 in Seville. Thomas Cup 1998(Hong Kong), 2000(Kuala Lumpur), 2002(Guangzhou).We emerged as Champions consecutively. I won all my championship rounds. Another highlight is the Sydney Olympics 2000, I won a silver medal.
11. Which incident would you consider as a low point of your career?
Well, lowest point outside from tournaments. I'm not a very strong person. I get injuries and I fell ill very often such as fever, flu and etc. Sometimes I have stayed away of tournaments because of injuries and illness or during tournament I got injured. I have to take extra caution of my health, I go to bed every day before 10pm. Lowest point in tournament has to be the 2000 Sydney Olympics, my target is to win the gold medal and it is my last Olympic Games.
12. How would you summarize your career?
Of course, as a human being or an athlete you are never satisfied. (Hendrawan laughs). Based on my talent, as I'm not really talented but I managed to be champion in a number of major tournaments such as Asian Games 1998, World Championship 2001, Thomas Cup 1998/2000/2002, Olympic Silver Medallist 2000 and a string of international Open tournaments such as French Open(1993), Denmark Open(1995), China Open(1997), Singapore Open(1998), Japan Open(2000) and etc. Looking back it's not an easy task, so I'm quite satisfied (Herdrawan laughs).
13. Do you still play? What other sports other than badminton?
Yes I still do play, I still love the sport very much. Sometimes I play with players but not singles. I do play singles with the ladies players in Malaysia National team. Well, other sports not really, but I do jet skiing quite often back in Jakarta but not here in KL, the beaches are very far away.
14. What do you think of the new points scoring system?
The 21 point scoring system, it's more for speed and power and attacking player. During these years, since the 21 scoring point systems were introduced I don't see any defensive players become champion.
Not to say defensive players can't be champion in this new scoring system but it's harder. Nowadays, the rates of the defensive players are getting less. In my opinion, I still prefer the 15 points scoring format, great defensive players like Ardy Wiranata, Joko Suprianto with great skill has a chance to become champion.
15. Which player you admire at the start, both at the local and the international scene?
From the start, it would be Lim Swie King and Rudy Hartono because of my father who is an avid fan. When I was playing I admire all my opponents such as Peter Gade and Taufik Hidayat because they have really good skills. When I'm playing against my opponents I learn from them those skills.
16. As a player, what was your strength? Weakness, if any?
Fighting spirit, never give up attitude. As for weaknesses I'm a little weak with my defence, but I cover that with my strong points with good strokes and I have a good net skills.
17. Is it important to have a favorite stroke? What was yours then?
Yes of course, it's even more important now for 21 point scoring format, every player has to have a weapon. The net play is my favourite stroke.
18. Were you good in other sports as well or badminton was just 'it?
It's only badminton.
19. Can you name a few international players, current or retired, who you regard as best or famous for a specific technique or an area of skills?
Lin Dan is a complete player, Taufik Hidayat strong wrist work and talented skills and Susi Susanti. Lee Chong Wei, Peter Gade, Wong Choong Hann and etc. are all great talented players but didn't win major titles, so to me I don't really count them talented in full potential. It's not easy to win major titles numerous times such as Lin Dan, Taufik Hidayat and Susi Susanti it takes a lot of mental strength and abilities.
20. Who do you regard as the all time best player?
Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia and Lin Dan of China.
21. Who were your coaches during your international days?
There are a few, 2 of them from China who are Fang Kai Xiang and Tong Sing Fung. Agus Dwisantoso and lastly the late legendary Indonesian coach Pak Indra Gunawan.
22. Can you spell out the difference in coaching styles from China, Malaysia, Denmark and Indonesia? What are their Strengths and Weaknesses?
It's hard to say. It's more or less quite similar. Maybe only for China they have big population and they can choose better quality players from a bigger pool of players.
23. Nowadays there are a lot of former players or coaches that went to Europe to pursue their badminton career. Is it a good thing for badminton?
Good for badminton. As it's becoming more professional sport.
24. Do good players make good coaches?
Nope, there are a lot of factors. Some good coaches are not good players as well.
25. You are coaching at the moment, what's the difference?
As a player, I think only about myself. Now I have to think about the players. I need to handle different players, with different characters and different game. The difficult part is transferring the knowledge and experience.
26. What are the basic requirements to playing good badminton?
With the 21 point scoring system, you need skills, talent on playing the game, fitness and great fighting spirit.
27. What's the difference between Indonesia badminton and Malaysia badminton?
The system is around the same. The difference is in Indonesia, they have more local tournaments and they have clubs which brings to local league. In Malaysia, they have around 3 local tournaments in a year. Where as in Indonesia, they have around 8 tournaments.
28. When you were playing professionally. Do you ever thought of giving up?
Yes of course, when I was 23 years old. At that time, I have no result, always losing in tournaments. I'm sure, all great players went through that stage, just like Chong Wei. It'll take some time to break that barrier with hard work, drive and motivation. Once they have broken the barrier, that's when they blossom.
29. Who do you think is current upcoming players in Malaysia? and why?
It's our work to groom the upcoming players (back up players). This is not individual work, we must work together between coach, players, BAM and etc.
30. Do you see any players in the world to take over players like Lin Dan, Peter Gade, Lee Chong Wei and etc.?
Yes, the one who is making a name for himself would be Chen Long from China. He's only 22 years old. Another few would be Kenichi Tago from Japan Dionysius Rumbaka of Indonesia and Viktor Axelsson from Denmark.
31. Is there any ways for BAM to improve their systems for better results on international scene?
Yes, more local circuit for young players.
32. Badminton-information.com is planning to start a badminton league. Do you think it will increase the level of the players especially the back up players? and why?
Yes I do think so, because young players need more tournament exposure. Especially the age around 15 to 19 years old.
33. Do you support the league and why?
Yes I do support the league, but BAM have to support also.