Mohammad Ahsan and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo have different answers on how to defeat the Japanese world No. 5 pair of Yuta Watanabe and Hiroyuki Endo. While Sukamuljo said no solution yet, Ahsan dictated the virtue of patience.
When the question “How do you deal with opponents whose defence is tight and strong like Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe?” was directed at Sukamuljo, he seemed reluctant to answer and transferred the question to Ahsan.
Sukamuljo’s initial reluctance in answering the question is understandable with the current head to head record the Minions have against the Japanese. The Japanese have done well in keeping the Minions at the tip of their toes. Currently, the head to head record is Minions 2-6 Watanabe/Endo while it is Daddies 6-2 Watanabe/Endo.
The following is taken from a Q&A session Sukamuljo and Ahsan had on the PB Djarum Youtube channel.
How do you build confidence?
Sukamuljo: Self-confidence is self-taught. I really enjoy playing badminton so I enjoy myself on the court. The rest just follows.
How do you maintain focus when you fall behind at critical points?
Ahsan: First, we have to think about what we want and plan accordingly. Then you can ask the coach for instructions. Communication with the coach is also very important. The last one is praying a lot, especially at critical points.
How do you keep up with your consistency at this age?
Ahsan: My age may be older but the spirit in me is the same. Just like Kevin, Gideon, Fajar and Rian. The important thing is the fighting spirit and doing the best in training and not losing.
Tournament matches are sometimes a reflection of training sessions we do back at the academy. The best thing is to continue with enthusiasm and not to be outclassed by the younger ones.
How do you stay mentally strong?
Sukamuljo: So on the court, if we are nervous and tensed, the first thing is to calm down and not be discouraged or it will get chaotic. You have to be persistent, focus on how to play and how to gain points.
How to defeat Yuta Watanabe and Hiroyuki Endo?
Sukamuljo: Maybe the question is better for Ahsan. I keep losing against Watanabe/Endo, so I haven’t found a solution yet.
Ahsan: What is clear is that we have to be patient, we cannot hope that they will be defeated in just 1-2 shots. We have to dare to fight for each point. You have to be ready to fight both physically and strategically.
Sukamuljo: To play them, you have to be patient and ready to be tired. If possible, don’t lose your focus at all, you have to be able to stand your ground on-court. If you lose focus, they will quickly get points. It is impossible to expect them not to fight back. This rarely happens.