At 34, Peter Gade is still a handful for younger opponentsApril 29th, 2011 - 9:24 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, April 29 (IANS) Peter Gade has seen and done it all on the badminton court. Yet, at 34 he is hungry for success. His energy is awesome, enthusiasm infectious.
The Danish veteran’s court craft is a treat. His speed, agility and nimble footwork leave his much younger opponents gasping for breath. He is no longer as aggressively attacking as he was a couple of years ago. An injury pulled him back a bit, but he makes up with his deft touch and deceptive strokeplay.
For someone who was world’s top-ranked player from 1998 to 2001, Gade has to try that extra hard these days to compete against younger players.
But he was on song Tuesday when he beat Japan’s Takuma Ueda 23-21, 21-10 to make the semifinal. His innovative shots against Ueda were lethal.
It was a transformed Gade. Against Ueda’s compatriot Kazushi Yamada in the first match, Gade had to save three matchpoints and struggle to find his range of strokes that he exhibited while in full flow Friday.
“It is a coincidence that I am facing Japanese all along here. They have improved a lot and these are the guys who were beating top players like Taufiq and others in the last couple of months,” said Gade.
“Winning the first game was important against him (Ueda). I knew I had to maintain the speed. Actually, I did not make any mistake and it is the best I have played in the tournament so far,” said Gade, who has 16 Grand Prix titles apart from the coveted All- England crown that he won in 1999 and his four European Championships titles.
Gade’s next opponent, however, is a South Korean — Sung Hwan Park, who upset second-seeded Indonesian veteran Taufiq Hidayat Thursday.
“I have played him before and I know his game,” Gade said about Park.
But Gade does not take anything for granted. He sat through the entire match between Park and Hidayat, making mental notes.
“He was there all along and analysing my game. He studies the opponent very well and then plans his strategy,” said Park of Gade.
“I have lost to him many times and I have to prepare well. Maybe, I will watch some of his recent videos back in the hotel,” he added.
Gade knows that at this level he cannot survive on reputation alone.
“They (youngsters) have nothing to lose, for them beating me is an achievement. So if I give them an opportunity, they will grab it. I have to show them that beating me is not easy and they have to be at their best,” said Gade.
Gade said that experience is the key to his performance.
“Yes, there are ups and downs, but with experience you know how to approach a match. You know when to go full throttle and when to pull yourself back. It is all about the experience,” Gade signed off with a mysterious smile.
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Tags: agility, april 29, badminton court, coincidence, compatriot, deft touch, entire match, first game, footwork, hidayat, matchpoints, New Delhi, peter gade, ranked player, south korean, strokes, takuma, taufiq, ueda, yamada