MALAYSIA OPEN 2012 R16 – Gade’s silent goodbye

Malaysia has always been one Peter Gade’s most favourite places on the badminton circuit. However, very unfortunately for the evergreen Dane, the goodbye to his final showdown on Malaysian soil […]

Malaysia has always been one Peter Gade’s most favourite places on the badminton circuit. However, very unfortunately for the evergreen Dane, the goodbye to his final showdown on Malaysian soil arrived at his doorstep too soon.

By Ooi Ee Lyn, live in Kuala Lumpur. Photos: Yves Lacroix, Badmintonphoto (live)

Peter Gade (pictured) arrived in Malaysia with hopes of enjoying his last game on this very piece of land that has been like a memory chamber to him throughout the years. It was his hope to fully utilise this chance to update his Diary of Sweet Memories in Malaysia.  Sadly, the time given wasn’t as abundant as many might have expected.

Kenichi Tago was the very man who declared the end of the Dane’s final run, with a score of 19-21, 21-11, 21-16.  As Gade walked backstage after being halted with the bad news, he sat down to pour his heart out at the post-match press conference.

Tago played the way I expected him to. My body’s getting better, but I began struggling. It was quite expected, due to the tough schedule I’ve had these past months. I really wanted to do something, but it’s just not time. I tried to give what I have left, but there was nothing I could do. It’s really frustrating. Maybe I’m not good enough,” said the Dane as he shook his head gently. “When I get some free time, I will do whatever I want to do. I really need the time and space, and I’m looking forward to it. The form I had for the past nine months is what I need now.

The soft-spoken Dane then began to express his affection for this country he will soon bid goodbye to. “Malaysia has a special place in my heart. I had lots of nice experiences here. I enjoy the fans, the atmosphere and the fact that badminton is such a great sport here. I always think this place is like a big home of badminton. Sad to say it’s not the time today, but this will not take away the great memories I had. I will always remember Malaysia.

Gade: It’s not easy to stay on top these days

Peter Gade’s first major title came 18 years ago, when he was crowned boys’ doubles champion (with Peder Nissen) at the World Junior Championships in 1994. Being one of the most veteran players on the current circuit, he had also witnessed many changes in the sport throughout the years…So much that he spoke with feelings that touched hearts.

The game today is much more complex. To be on top, you can’t just be an attacking player. You can’t just do it one way. You have to do everything. You’ve got to be fast, you’ve got to be strong, you need lots of variations. I’ve been working hard to get better in terms of fitness, but it’s very hard at 35 years old. I’m no longer as fast as I was ten years back,” he explained.

I will work hard to improve the percentages that I need to improve. It is difficult to beat the players like Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei, but it is not impossible. [As for the London Olympic Games] I believe in the tiny little bit of chance that I will have my best day, and they might have their bad day. Then, at the end of the Olympic Games, I can look myself in the mirror and say that I’ve done what I could,” stated the Dane as a glint of hope sparkled in his eyes.

“Enough of travelling”. Gade wants to stay home.

Akin to most other retirees of the sport, Gade is certain that he will be coaching younger generations after leaving the limelight.

I will be coaching in some way, but I’d love to stay home. I don’t want to travel so much, so I can have more time for my two girls [his daughters].”

When asked of the way he would like to be remembered after leaving the professional circuit, he smiled and said, “It’s not up to me. It’s up to all of you to decide how I will be remembered. But I would like to be known for the way I do and handle things. That’s something I want to bring out to people outside the court.

Tago: One at a time

On the other hand, the winner of today’s game stepped into the hall with a different feeling that altered the atmosphere of the dimmed room. Kenichi Tago (pictured above) marched towards the seat the Dane had just gotten up from and began talking about his first victory after four meetings with the respectable veteran.

I was leading in the first game, but I lost and I was disappointed,” said Tago.  “Playing with more patience in the second and third games was the key to this victory. I’m much stronger and more confident now than I was two years ago. I need that kind of confidence I get from beating players like Lin Dan, Lee Chong Wei and Peter Gade and that’s what I’m doing now. As for my hopes in the following matches, I think if I lose tomorrow, it will be the same story as in the All England two years back [Tago lost to Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei in the final after upsetting three seeds in the previous rounds], so I will just take it one at a time and see how it goes.”

Earlier in the afternoon, Japan’s Naoki Kawamae / Shoji Sato and Singapore’s Danny Bawa Chrisnanta / Vanessa Neo ousted their higher ranked opponents and received their tickets to play in the quarterfinals of the men’s doubles and mixed doubles, respectively, on Friday. Meanwhile, Li Xuerui (pictured right) remained as the only Chinese lady left ‘met yet unbeaten’ by Sung Ji Hyun, as she breezed past Sung in straight games.

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