"I love my sport, I feel I have something to bring back to the sport," says world number three shuttler Viktor Axelsen (Exclusive)

Axelsen is currently ranked 3 in the world ranking (men's singles)
Axelsen is currently ranked 3 in the world ranking (men's singles)

What is the most common question a shuttler is asked? Does height play an important role in badminton? Although most badminton players aren't too tall, a good height helps in hitting steeper smashes because you can hit the shuttle from a higher level than others. Height doesn't guarantee you success, but it guarantees you a big reach accompanied by injuries.

Viktor Axelsen stands at 1.94 metres and is currently the tallest player in the world. The shuttler from Denmark has had his own share of ups and downs. From being the World Junior Champion in 2010 to being the world number one and then taking an indefinite break due to constant injuries which halted his career, he's seen it all.

The 26-year-old has witnessed a lot of wonderful moments in his career thus far, and the silver medal he added to the 2016 Rio Olympics medal tally still remains one of his favourite memories.

In an exclusive conversation with Sportskeeda, world number three Axelsen opened up about his comeback, current form, and the upcoming Olympics.

Q. You faced a few injuries and health issues in 2019, what was your mindset during that period and how did you bounce back from the tough phase?

When you push your body to a certain level being 194 cm high you will get there unfortunately. But I was pissed being out of the court but my personal trainer and I made a plan for recovery and we followed it very closely. I also met up with some good doctors who had the skills to help me but in my head I just had to stick to the plan and be patient. I followed it day by day and listened to my body and when I felt I was there I was comfortable being back 110%.

Q. You won a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016, what was the feeling of winning an Olympic medal?

Since I was a little boy I dreamt of being part of The Olympics and suddenly I was there coming in to the stadium with all the other athletes from Denmark. I was feiling good on court all along and suddenly I was beating Lin Dan. I do not remember the last 3-4 matches but I just went crazy when the last shuttle was in the ground……GREAT.

Q. Is there a special emphasis on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and how are you preparing for the competition?

I’m just as focused as I am for all big events. Preparing the best I can and I have a very specific plan for being the best version of myself. I do hope to be as prepared as I know I can be if the whole situation just go my way.

Q. You’ve played in the PBL, what's your opinion about the league?

It is totally great. To see how badminton really can be a big party with a lot of good matches – a better setup than everything else – a lot of nice people on your team – this is how badminton should be for team events.

Q. You recently lost the Malaysia Master finals against Kento Momota, what learning did you take from the game?

Momota is just a big talent and hard på play. Everytime I feel I’m getting closer but he’s just faster and have some energy he gets everytime you feel your close. He’s a great opponent. Momota is just something special. He’s just a player who can be everywhere everytime

Q. How do you stay consistent, motivated, and how do you work to keep a positive mindset?

I love my sport – I make a living out of my sport – and I feel I have something to bring back to the sport. The sport which has given me so much. That's what makes me stay 110% focused on the next match.

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Edited by Zaid Khan
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