Malaysian legend Lee Chong Wei believes that veteran campaigners like himself and Lin Dan are set to face stiff challenges from younger players in the circuit but that they will be prepared to take them on at Malaysia Open Superseries Premier event, starting 4 April in Sarawak.
The world number one praised younger stars [Viktor Axelsen won the Superseries event in India], who "stole the show" at last week's India Open Superseries, from which Lee, Lin and Jan O Jorgensen withdrew. Lee believes that the youngsters will be aiming to ride on their success and create glory in Malaysia as well.
Also, Lee reveals that the key to his success will be managing expectations and taking it one step after another, especially after a knee injury that marred the initial part of his season. However, the three-time Olympic silver medalist made a strong comeback to the circuit by winning the All England Championships last month and is eyeing his 12th crown at Malaysia Open.
While packed crowds are expected to throng Jalan Stadium in Kuching, Lee believes that most of them would want to see him and Lin battling for the title in the final, which will also be the repeat of the title match in 2006, the last time the tournament was held in Kuching.
Despite maintaining that he is not sure of even making it past the first round, in which he takes on Great Britain's Rajiv Ouseph on Wednesday, Lee believes the rest he has had while sitting out of India Open should keep him fit enough to go the distance at home.
"Everyone wants another Chong Wei-Lin Dan final clash. But I do not even know whether either one of us can go through the early rounds. The pressure is different for us now," Lee said, as quoted by The Star.
"I am expected to win for the 12th time. I want it too but I need to manage my own expectations and handle the pressure. The younger players stole the show at the Indian Open. I am sure they will be out for our scalps, but we will be ready. I went for treatment and I am much better now."