Robertson Hopes to Scare Chinese at All England
England's Nathan Robertson believes he has received the ultimate compliment from China by their refusal to invite him for a pre-Olympic test event in Beijing.
|The Athens Olympic silver medalist in mixed doubles was not allowed to find out about the conditions in Beijing, which hosted a test event, although his partner Gail Emms was invited as part of a women's doubles team. |
The Chinese are after a clean sweep of badminton gold medals at the Beijing Olympics and they know that Robertson and Emms are a serious threat to their ambitions.
Playing in a test event is hardly a major benefit in terms of acclimatisation but the Chinese are not taking any chances. They don't want to give Robertson even a slender advantage.
"They're never helpful when you play in China," Robertson was quoted as saying in the Sunday Times. "We accept that they will do things to mess up your rhythm. We'll be expecting that."
Robertson and Emms have played together for eight years and are one of the most successful international pairings. They have won the China Open, Commonwealth Games, European championship and world championship as a duo and, with Emms declaring that she will retire soon, the Beijing Games could be their final quest for glory.
Robertson, however, has no plans to call it a day and is hoping to play in the London Olympics of 2012, when he will be 35.
"I can do it. I don't intend to stop. I just wish I was a couple of years younger," he said.
Robertson and Emms will be able to show the Chinese what they can do this week at the All England Championship, which is the world's most significant annual tournament.
China has three pairs among the top five seeds in the mixed doubles competition. The pair lost to China's Gao Ling and Zhang Jun in the Athens final and will be hoping to overcome whatever China can throw their way on home turf.
And with the Olympics on the horizon, Robertson expects the All England atmosphere to be tense.
He said: "There was an almost unspoken understanding after Athens that we had unfinished business with the Olympics.
"We won silver but we also lost the last match we played in the Olympics and now we have the chance to do better. We worked really intensely for two years and won the world championships so it was obvious for both of us what we had left to do.
"Funnily enough, the All-England wasn't one of my favourite tournaments for a long time, but we've played great for the past three years.
"This is the tournament people want to win before the Olympics, so nobody will be holding back. All the top players are here."
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