Indonesia had an auspicious beginning at the Sudirman Cup, winning the inaugural title on home soil in Jakarta.
Since then, the Indonesians have been in six finals, but have fallen short at the ultimate hurdle.
With the 18th edition of the Sudirman Cup set to unfold in Suzhou on Sunday, the team senses an opportunity to go further than any of its predecessors in three decades.
“It’s been 34 years since Indonesia won the Sudirman Cup. It’ s a long time,” said Jonatan Christie, world No.6 in men’s singles. “There’s a good chance for us this year. I hope we can do well. We have a good team, in men’s and women’s – singles and doubles and mixed. It’s not easy to make it happen.”
Ginting, fresh from his Badminton Asia triumph in Dubai, was mindful of the fact that Indonesia couldn’t look too far ahead.
“Of course we have confidence, but we have to manage it well,” said Ginting. “There are other good teams. So we need to control all our expectations. Of course we really really want to get the title back to Indonesia, but we have to work hard and enjoy every match. It won’t be an easy journey for us, but there is a big chance to get the title.”
Having achieved one of his career’s biggest wins in Dubai a couple of weeks ago, Ginting was happy with all aspects of his game.
“Of course the title in Dubai was very important for me. Not just the winning, but that coming into the event, I could do the right things on court, I could play well, and I could play calmly even during tough points. So hopefully I can get confidence from that for this week.”
Having played a starring role in Indonesia’s Thomas Cup triumph in 2021 – 19 years since their last victory – Christie knows first hand what it means to win a major team event, compared to an individual title.
“In a team event all eyes are on you. In Indonesia, all the supporters and fans are hoping very much for this title. It’s important for us to win, it’s not easy to play in a team event. It meant a great deal to me to win the Thomas Cup, because it happened after 19 years. We’re hoping that the next one is the Sudirman Cup.”
Paris the Goal, Says Gideon
The Minions – Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo – have slipped from No.1 to No.22 and haven’t played on the circuit since January, but they’re still hopeful of qualifying for Paris 2024 as they eye an elusive medal.
“Our main goal is Paris. In Tokyo we couldn’t get any medal, so I hope we can compete in Paris and get a medal,” said Gideon.
“We have to train a lot to get back to our condition of five years ago. Hopefully we can find it again. We haven’t played in almost six months … we were supposed to play the All England, but Kevin got engaged. Then for the Badminton Asia Championships, our ranking wasn’t high enough. So this (Sudirman Cup) will be our first tournament in a long time.
“During practice, the feeling is good. Of course we want to go back to the top again, but we haven’t been playing many tournaments. Last year we had many problems, like I had surgery, so hopefully this year can be better. Hopefully we can get back to No.1.”