Danish Legend Peter Gade has been more than 8 months away from the courts – at least, from competition, because the former world number one didn’t let go with his badminton rackets all of a sudden – on the contrary – he keeps practising with his former club and the National team from time to time, on top of other projects he has been involved with.
The iconic Dane shares with Badminton Europe his view on the World Championships in Guangzhou, which is just around the corner and which will be the first edition he will not participate in since 1995. And talks about his whereabouts since his last match against Lin Dan at the Yonex Copenhagen Masters.
Badminton Europe: How do you see the world of men’s single since you left? Any significant changes in your opinion?
Peter Gade: Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan are still apart (in whatever state Lin Dan is in - He's been away and that’s a big loss for the men’s singles). Chong Wei is still performing at an extremely high level and I'm very impressed by the way he's still keeping his level high in every tournament. Chen Long has moved in as a very strong competitor and together with Chong Wei, they are the two best players in the world for the moment. A step ahead of everyone else.
Chen Long is a strong player for China, but he doesn’t have the same personality as Lin Dan. Besides that, there is now a field of many, many players. Some young, some mid-age, all trying to take the field in the top of the men’s singles, but none is consistent... and I think you'll see this situation for some time. Maybe for the next year and then the top 8 will start to manifest. Japan and India have a lot of young players coming forward and it looks to be the countries with good options for the future... besides China.
Badminton Europe: When you look at the draw, who do you see as potential winners?
Gade: I won’t predict any winner or semi finalists, but I think that it’s a very open draw. It’s quite a good draw for some European best cards, like Jan Ø. Jørgensen and Marc Zwiebler - and hopefully they will take advantage of that. The big question is of course how Lin Dan will fare in the bottom half. It is impossible to predict and only Lin Dan himself knows. But Chen Long and Chong Wei are the big favourites and a group of 15 players could take up other spots.
Badminton Europe: Do you think it's a good thing that Lin Dan got a wild card?
Gade: Yes, of course he should have a wild card. He's the biggest star of all and if he wants a break after his 2nd Olympic title, it’s very well deserved and of course he should be given the option of a wild card.
Badminton Europe: It's been 8 months that you left the competition. How do you organize your days now, Do you still train/spar with the National team? What's next for you?
Gade: I found out during the first couple of months that I still needed to practice quite a lot, sometimes I do at the national centre, and sometimes in the club at Gentofte. I like that I'm free and just enjoying the sport of badminton, and men’s singles in a different way. I have no pressure. I am just enjoying.
My focus is still on building of areas of business in the cooperation between Danish companies and Asia as a kind of ambassador, and hopefully something will start happening soon. At the same time, I'm the head coach of a very ambitious talent project with the support of Badminton Denmark and Gentofte BK, coaching 16 of the best players in the Copenhagen area between 14-18. Together with Jim Laugesen. I truly enjoy that and will try to set new standards for the young players in Denmark
Badminton Europe: What's your opinion on the fight between the Thai pairs in Canada?
Gade: It's not to be seen on a badminton court, but that’s what happens... No more than that.
Thanks for the interview!
You can follow Peter Gade on his official Facebook page.
Interview by Raphael Sachetat. Photos by BadmintonPhoto.