‘My Inside Is Stronger Than My Outside’ – Chou Tien Chen

Chou Tien Chen, Chen Long, Viktor Axelsen and Anthony Ginting make up men’s singles Group B, which is generally regarded as the toughest group among all categories at this year’s HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2019.

Players will all be aiming to finish their group assignments ranked in the top two, which would allow them to qualify for the semifinals.

Chou, men’s singles second seed, talks about his group and the season he’s had, on the eve of the year-ending tournament.

A gesture heavenwards… Chou places his achievements in a larger context.

What do you make of your group, with Chen Long, Axelsen and Ginting?

They’re really tough opponents. I really need to focus in every match. I think they all have different styles. Ginting is very fast, Axelsen is very tall and very patient. Chen Long is also very patient, and he was champion before. I’m excited because I can improve. Let’s see what happens.

In the Finals every player will be tough. So it doesn’t matter who I play, I will just focus on myself and prepare well.

This is my fourth Finals. At previous Finals I have won only one match. This time I want to qualify from the group. I am second seed, but players are really strong and I need to think like a coach and prepare myself and work hard inside and outside the court. So I have two roles. This has helped me with thinking differently. I do discuss tactics with my team but most of the tactics I think myself.

Are you happy with the way the season panned out for you?

Of course, thanks to God, I won my first Super 1000, especially in Indonesia, which is harder than any other Super 1000. Because the fans like badminton, and they’re all shouting, it’s really tough to keep your focus and forget everything else. I want to do it again.

Of course, everyone prepares for the Olympics. I need to improve myself – not just my ranking, but at the Olympics it’s about how you play, not your ranking. So I want to focus on myself and not just the ranking.

You’re already playing at a high level. What areas do you think need improvement?

That’s a tough question. Maybe I want to go one step but I need to improve my net shot, my smash, my patience… to improve everything is very tough. So I want to improve my inside and outside, improve a little on every front.

I just follow my rules and it’s working, because my ranking is up. I will do it this way, so I just want to show my inside is better than my outside – my attitude, I show everybody, what I do on court. My inside is stronger than my outside – I just want to pay attention to little details that change the match.

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