“I watch myself the most, I enjoy watching myself and I learn from them.”
Anders Antonsen says he learns more from watching his own match videos than watching others. He said he enjoyed watching his videos, but when he played good it gave him joy and that was something he liked.
The 23-yeard-old from Aarhus, Denmark was 11 years old when Lin Dan played Lee Chong Wei for the 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medal. He was hitting shuttlecocks and perfecting his movements in his backyard.
At the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Antonsen would be making his Olympic debut. And without a doubt he would be looking to repeat what former champion and now BWF president Poul Erik Hoyer achieved at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
A Badminton family
Antonsen’s father runs the Aarhus Badminton club and his brothers also played the sport when he was growing up. It seems natural that young Antonsen got the enthusiasm to play the sport from his own family.
He told Tokyo 2020 that he spent most of his childhood at the Aarhus club. He said if his father had not worked there, he would have gone to another club. His mother was quite involved with the club as well.
“My dad works in the badminton club and he has been doing that for the past 25 years, or something like that. He played badminton, but not on a high level. I think if you ask him he would say that it was on a high level, but it was not! He is still running the club to this day.”
Becoming a world class player
He revealed to his parents that he was going to be a professional badminton player at the age of 16.
“I went to high school and I was there for three days. And then I left and walked down to the club where my father was and I told him that I’m not going back to school for one more day. That is not the life I want to live and that is not the dream I’m chasing. That is not definitely for me.”
It seems chasing his childhood dream has paid off well for Antonsen as he is a top world-class player today who is currently world No. 3.
Denmark Open against Rasmus Gemke
Rasmus Gemke is Antonsen’s childhood friend, neighbor and now teammates in the Danish national side. He was hitting the shuttlecocks with Antonsen back in 2008 when the whole badminton world was watching Lin Dan win his first Olympics gold.
At the DANISA Denmark Open 2020, the two childhood friends fought it out in front of a home crowd where Antonsen edged out Gemke to lift the trophy.
“Already you’re full of excitement going into a final and then when playing your childhood friend, it just makes it a little bit more difficult. And yeah, there were a lot of emotions involved in that match. Both of us were quite tired at the end of it because it just does something to your body, it’s hard to explain. We’ve been playing each other since we started playing badminton.”
Who doesn’t want to win an Olympic gold medal?
It seems Antonsen finally watched a Lin Dan – Lee Chong Wei classic when he recalled, “I think the match I remember the most is 2012 (London Olympic): Lin Dan and Wei playing the final, it was an amazing match. I don’t think that I was rooting for any of them. It was a close match. Crazy, crazy.”
His aim for his Olympic debut: “I’ve said it before and I stick to it: I’m aiming for the gold medal.
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“I feel it would be a little bit ridiculous to sit here and say I want to reach a quarter-final and I would be satisfied by that. I want to reach the absolute top. Who doesn’t want to win an Olympic gold medal? That is the best that you can achieve in maybe in all of sports.
“I know that I’m not going into the tournament as the favourite, so I have to deliver a hell of a performance during that Olympics.”
When asked why he seemed overconfident at times, he simply replied, “If I am gifted with extra confidence then I see it as a positive.”
He said he had been labeled with confidence since he was a young boy. But at times he still felt nervous when stepping on the court.
“I’ve always been really confident in my own abilities when it come to badminton. And it’s hard to explain why that it. I don’t know, but it’s quite obvious that I’m good at badminton and I’ve always been so. For me, it’s quite logical that I’m confident in my badminton abilities.
“I still feel nerves, of course, when I step on court. But I think I’m really good at handling nerves. I think many people don’t want that… they’re scared of nerves. But my approach to nerves is probably a little bit different. I mean, I like it because it shows me that this is something that I really want.”