All England Open 2018: World No. 1 Viktor Axelsen pulls out of tournament, Qiao Bin takes his slot
What's the story?
World No. 1 Viktor Axelson has officially withdrawn from the upcoming All England Open. The Danish shuttler has been subsequently replaced in the draw by Chinese World No. 28 Qiao Bin, who was in the reserves.
In a press release, Axelsen stated: "It's too big a risk to play the All England Open. I was told after surgery that it would be uncertain how long it would take for me to get ready to play and now, it is clear that it will not be possible. This is, of course, a big blow because winning it was my big goal this year. However, I have many years left and will definitely get more chances."
In case you didn't know...
Axelsen sustained an ankle injury at the Indonesian Masters for which he had to retire in the second round. Because of the injury, he had to sit out of the India Open and the European Team Championships.
The heart of the matter
Having started the year on a positive note by winning the Malaysia Masters, Axelsen was looking to stamp his authority in men's singles this year. However, the injury has hindered his progress, much to the dismay of the fans.
The 24-year-old Danish star underwent a surgery a few days back, which had rendered him highly doubtful for the All England Open. The recovery period was estimated at 3-5 weeks. Quite evidently, it will take a little bit longer for Axelsen to recover completely.
Axelsen will have ample time to rest and recuperate properly before the European Championships in late April. Missing the All England Open, though, will not affect his No. 1 ranking.
Badminton fans are eagerly awaiting Axelsen's return to the court. The kind of form he was in, the Dane was very much a top contender for the prestigious All England Open this year. However, it is very important to not rush into things. Hopefully, he will come back stronger once he is on his feet.