World number one Men's doubles badminton pair of Tan Wee Kiong and Goh V Shem are hopeful of living up to the expectations of being the top seed at 2017 All England Championships, starting 7 March in Birmingham.
The Malaysian shuttlers have had some some issues with injuries in the new season and have not been played any international tournaments since winning the Badminton World Championships in Dubai last year, to cap off a dream season, in which they won silver medal in the Men's doubles category at the Rio Olympics and followed it up with a title at Denmark Open Superseries, beating the likes of Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen, who are the second seeds in Birmingham, enroute to the podium.
However, both of them have had enough match practice when they plied their trade at Premier Badminton League, India's cash-rich city-based tournament, despite both of them not pairing up with each other in January. It will be interesting to see if there are any signs of rustiness when the duo takes on unseeded Japanese pairing of Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi in the opening round on Wednesday.
Wee Kiong has also said that their aim is to reach the semi-final of the tournament at least and then take it from there. Notably, the Malaysian pair reached the last-four stage of the tournament last year, in which they lost to Japan's Kenichi Hayakawa and Hiroyuki Endo. This year, they will face China's sixth-seeded pairing of Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen, whom they defeated in Denmark last year, if they manage to win the first two rounds.
"We expect nothing less than a semi-final appearance again. It would be great if we can win our first All-England title. Hopefully, we'll live up to our top seeding," Wee Kiong said, as quoted by The Star.
"We are both fine now. We have put in a lot of work in training and are looking forward to playing together again after the long break."
After facing first-round exits at French and China Open last year, Wee Kiong stresses on the importance of clearing the initial hurdle against Hoki and Kobayashi. Getting used to the conditions in Birmingham is a priority as well for the two shuttlers and they started their travel as early as on Saturday itself.
"The opening round is the most important. Other factors counts too ... we need to get used to the court as well as adjust to the cooler weather and time difference," Wee Kiong added.
"It looks rather easy, but it can all go wrong for us. We can't take our first-round opponents lightly at all."