Lee Chong Wei
File photo of Malaysian great Lee Chong Wei Reuters

Malaysia national coach Hendrawan has insisted that Lee Chong Wei himself should take a call on whether or not to continue playing badminton at the highest level and that his recovery from nose cancer is the most important thing now.

The Indonesian tactician, who has developed a good rapport with the three-time Olympic silver medalist, has revealed he was shocked when he heard about Chong Wei's condition and that the 35-year-old struggled at Indonesia Open earlier this year.

Chong Wei has not played since losing to Kento Momota 23-21, 21-12 in the semi-final of Indonesia Open in July, days after the Malaysia great won his 13th Malaysia Open title, beating Momota in the final.

He had withdrawn from BWF World Championships in July over what was reported as a respiratory-related issue, confirmed by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM). Chong Wei also pulled out of the Asian Games, which was held in Jakarta and Palembang in August.

The BAM confirmed on Saturday that Chong Wei was in fact diagnosed with nose cancer and that the top-ranked singles shuttler in the country has been responding well to treatment in Taiwan.

"I have been in contact with him since he went to Taiwan for treatment. He told me the treatment is going well. Let him fully recover before we discuss whether he will continue playing or not. What is important now is his health," Hendrawan said, as quoted by The New Straits Times.

He added: "Everything started during the Indonesia Open (July). Chong Wei had complained that he was tired and it was also the first time I had seen him competing without his usual strength.

"When we returned to Malaysia, Chong Wei did a medical check up and informed me when he got the doctor's report. Of course I was shocked."

Chong Wei had not ruled out the possibility of making one final attempt at winning the elusive Olympic gold at Tokyo Games in 2020.

Right after winning the Commonwealth Games title in April, the veteran shuttler had insisted he would be taking one season at a time but insisted he is wary of injuries.

Questions were asked over Chong Wei's ability to dominate the rest of the pack when he suffered a knee injury in the lead up to last year's All England Open Championships. However, he defied odds and went on to win the prestigious title for the fourth time in his career.

Chong Wei wasn't getting any younger but he showed no signs of it as he had been consistent at the highest-level over the last few seasons.

Axelsen, Taufik wish Chong Wei a speedy recovery

Meanwhile, top stars from the badminton fraternity have wished Chong Wei a speedy recovery.

World number one Viktor Axelsen, Indonesia great Tauifik Hidayat and former teammate Hafiz Hashim were among the many who sent out their messages to the ailing shuttler.

"To Chong Wei, I hope you get better everyday. I hope everything is positive throughout your treatment process," Taufik wrote.

"A few years ago we were roommates, training partners, good friends but at the same time enemies on the court," said the 2003 All England winner," Hashim said.

He added: "I pray that you receive the best treatment and quickly recover. You do not have to think about making a comeback now, what is important is your health. Get well soon Chong Wei"