We’ve known each other for a long time…since we were like teenagers.” – Smith

World No. 9s in the mixed doubles discipline Lauren Smith and Marcus Ellis are partners on and off the court. They sat down with the Olympic Channel and talked about how they are managing a successful career while being intimately involved.

Smith and Ellis were a chance partnership as they were teamed up for the 2018 Commonwealth Games to increase Great Britain’s chance of winning a medal. This “chance” proved to be a success when they won the silver at the event.

The following is an excerpt from the interview.

Ellis said that both aspects of their relationship were good for them as they understood what the other was going through more deeply.

“As a full-time athlete, you’re going through these really big ups and downs throughout your career. Everyone understands it, ups and downs, but only fellow athletes sometimes understand just how you’re feeling at that time.”

Competing against the Adcocks.

Smith and Ellis are currently sitting at No. 10 on the Race to Tokyo rankings ahead of the married couple and compatriots, Gabrielle Adcock and Chris Adcock, who are at No. 12. They rank higher on the BWF World Rankings as well, at No. 9 while the Adcocks are at No. 13.

Ellis: “At the moment, we are ahead, but there are still events left to play. Obviously, of course, we want to go. We want to go more than anything.”

“For us badminton players there is no equal to the Olympics. That is it. And there is nothing else that compares.”

Both Smith and Ellis have Olympics experiences which they are sure to use it in Tokyo. Ellis won bronze (men’s doubles) at the 2016 Rio Olympics with partner Chris Langridge, Smith also competed with partner Heather Olver (women’s doubles) but they failed to make it past the group stage.

Ellis says that the dream at Tokyo Olympic is to win a medal. He said, “But if we can play at a level where I know that we can be in a medal-winning position, I am happy with that.”

Smith: “The objective would just be to leave [Tokyo] whether it’s a medal or not, knowing that every performance you put it and everything you’ve done had been the right thing. And feeling like you’ve left no stone unturned. And you can go home and hold your head up high and know that you took that opportunity as best you could.”