Yuta Watanabe sat down with Badminton TV to talk about how he has been doing since the Covid-19 pandemic. In the virtual interview, he shared his new hobby, Olympic plans and his partner Hiroyuki Endo.
He revealed that he has returned to training with the national team.
When asked how he kept himself busy during the absence of tournaments, he said that he found a new hobby to pass the time. “My new hobby is a jigsaw puzzle.” He proudly held up a recently finished puzzle and said the puzzle comprised of one thousand pieces and that it took him a whole week to complete.
Apart from his new hobby, Watanabe opened his own Youtube channel a few months ago. In the channel, he uploads videos of him playing online games like Mario kart. The channel already has more than two thousand subscribers. He revealed that he likes to drive in real life as well, even though it is only in the city area.
When asked about his Olympic goals, Watanabe replied, “This is a difficult question.”
He explained that he took his day one step at a time and said, “Because I don’t know when the tournaments would start again so I’m not targeting any specific tournament. So right now I set my target on a day by day basis and not get too far ahead.”
He acknowledged that he would be qualifying for the Olympics in two disciplines, Mixed doubles and Men’s doubles, and said that he would do his best to perform in both the disciplines.
Daddies or Minions?
Watanabe/Endo pair has defeated the top Indonesian pairs Ahsan/Setiawan and Kevin/Marcus. But when the interviewer asked about their triumph, the young Japanese remained humble.
He said, “Okay, yes it is true. We beat the two best Indonesian pair, however, the gap was not that big. They could have won it…We didn’t beat them easily.”
“Both the pair of Ahsan/Setiawan and Kevin/Marcus are far better than us. We have beaten them several times but we don’t feel like we are better than them.”
When asked which pair is the harder to beat, the Daddies or the Minions, Watanabe said, “I don’t really have a choice. Both of them are difficult. But I would have to say Kevin/Marcus pair is harder to beat than the Daddies.”
Watanabe admitted that he was very close to his partner Hiroyuki Endo, almost like family. He said, “I’m not a relative, but I’m like one of Endo’s sons.”
Watanabe emphasized, “In the doubles discipline, communication is very important. In singles focusing only on the opponent is enough. But in doubles communication is needed…Communication of heart to heart.”
He said he is as close to his other partner Arisa Higashino just as well.