Anders Antonsen and Hans Kristian Vittinghus discussed in detail how Viktor Axelsen’s relocation to Dubai has changed their practice at the national training centre in the latest episode of the Badminton Experience podcast.
Axelsen’s move to Dubai has left a void in the men’s singles department of the Danish national team. It has also affected Antonsen as Axelsen was his primary sparring partner in training.
Antonsen said, “He is irreplaceable. The level and the intensity that he brings to the practice is unique. You cannot get it from anyone else. So, obviously it is not good for our practice. The level is not as high as it was before.”
“We (all the men’s singles players in the Danish team) have really benefited from Viktor being in the practice,” he added.
Antonsen also talked about his relationship with Axelsen on the episode, in reply to questions asked by the viewers if they don’t like each other.
Vittinghus was also eager to see how Antonsen would tackle the tricky question and asked jokingly, “Why don’t we see him on all your vlogs? Why do you hate him so much?”
Antonsen replied, “I think there is a quite simple explanation why he is not so much included in the vlogs and stuff like that… He is really much on his own, he spends most of his time alone when we are out travelling in the world. I don’t really know why, but that is just how he has chosen to conduct himself when being on tour and at tournaments. I think he does better when he is alone.”
He went ahead to reveal that he and Axelsen had an agreement during the training period leading to the Tokyo Olympics.
“During the Olympic training period, we made a deal that if I was going to show him (in videos on social media) while we did exercises and practice, it was only going to be like a shot here and there. We were not going to show long sequences of me and him playing rallies. Because he might not have wanted to show too much of his practice leading up to the Olympics, maybe (he wanted to) hide it a little bit from the opponents,” he said.
Antonsen is currently the world no. 3 in men’s singles while Axelsen in the world no. 2. Apart from the fierce competition they have with each other, Antonsen made it very clear for the record that he and Axelsen do not hate each other at all.