LEE Chong Wei believes Lee Zii Jia is on the right path to becoming the best in the world.
According to the former world No 1, not only is Zii Jia in sizzling form at the moment but is also backed by a great team of professionals.
Zii Jia’s team include Chong Wei’s former physiotherapist, Sandra Fiedler.
On Sunday, Zii Jia staged a brilliant comeback against China’s Li Shi Feng to clinch the Thailand Open crown in Bangkok. It was Zii Jia’s second consecutive title this month after winning the Asia Championships (BAC) in Manila.
The 24-year-old is expected to break into the world’s top five for the first time in his career today, a feat never achieved by any other Malaysian shuttler since Chong Wei.
Chong Wei: “To be honest, I do not remember when I first broke into the top five, but it had to be after the 2004 Olympics because I remember qualifying as a top-16 player then.
“What I can remember is how tough the challenge got once I made it into that top bracket.
“Similarly all eyes will now be on Zii Jia. He is the man to beat. This is where the true test starts — consistency and staying injury-free will be the key.
“This is where Sandra comes in. I know because I’ve worked with her for so long. If not for Sandra, I wouldn’t be the person people know now,” said Chong Wei, who was world No 1 for 349 weeks, including a 199-week streak from Aug 21, 2008, to June 14, 2012.
The 40-year-old has urged Zii Jia to utilise the expertise of Sandra and the rest of his team well, in his quest to be the world No 1.
“Remember when I nearly missed the 2012 Olympics because of an injury after the Thomas Cup in China? It was Sandra who got me back on my feet.
“In fact, even when I got to London, I wasn’t in the best shape, but slowly with Sandra’s help, I pulled through.
“Zii Jia is lucky because he will get to plan his tournaments, and with a solid team by his side, I don’t think it’s impossible for him to be the best soon.
“My only advice to him is to train hard, plan well and avoid injuries,” added Chong Wei, who hung up his racquet in 2019.
According to Zii Jia’s Indonesian coach, Indra Wijaya, the Kedah-born will take a short break before preparing for the Indonesia Open in Jakarta on June 14-19.