Olympic champion Chen Yu Fei’s recent candid admission of her “burnt out” body and mind in the months following the Olympics had created a stir in the badminton world; the world No.4 is now hopeful of a fresh start after expressing all that she was going through.
“I think that is a way of expressing, to unload my pressure. This is a new year, I would like to look ahead, take a fresh start,” said Chen, after her opening round win at the YONEX All England 2023 over Michelle Li.
In a Weibo post on her birthday earlier this month, Chen revealed that she was struggling to cope with the demands of the sport after her Olympic victory.
“It all came from a busy 2021 – first was the Olympics, followed by the National Games and the Sudirman Cup, then the Uber Cup,” she said. “My body was totally burnt out, and my mental state was the same.
“Then came all the disorders in my body. I could not sleep well or eat well, and my mind was heavy and I had little energy.
“But because of responsibility and because my name is Chen Yu Fei, I took my tired body to the courts and kept playing. However, I didn’t enjoy any of my matches nor did I look forward to them.”
After a holiday in Bangkok before the beginning of this season, Chen said she felt much better before the first tournament, the Malaysia Open.
“I told myself I could start the tournament in a happy mood. I approached the game in a different way than I used to. Indeed, it was the first time after the Olympics, after the National Games, that I approached the games differently and surprisingly the result was not too bad.”
Asked if putting all her troubles out on social media would help her play better, Chen said: “It’s not about whether it helps or not. I see it as a way of expressing my emotions and thoughts. It does not really do anything about my performance. The fans were all very positive and cheering for me and encouraging me.”
The 2019 champion said she was looking forward to doing well at the All England.
“I’m excited to be back in Birmingham. The All England has a rich history and I feel very honoured to participate and I hope I can be at my best here.”