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04-07-2009, 10:47 AM #1
Taufik Hidayat the John McEnroe of badminton?
By N Jagannath Das
05 Apr 2009 08:10:00 AM IST
The talented but temperamental Taufik Hidayat
Is ‘bad boy’ Taufik Hidayat the John McEnroe of badminton? Ask him this question and he will, in all probability, reply: “I’m the Taufik Hidayat of badminton.” The 28-year-old former World Champion and Athens Olympics gold-medallist was the toast of the Hyderabad crowd last week when he came, saw and conquered Indian fans with his game at the $120,000 India Open Gold Grand Prix, where he emerged me*n’s singles winner.
“He is a touch artiste. He can play any stroke. He weaves the racquet like a wand. He can pick any shot from any angle and make it look easy,’’ says Syed Mohammad Arif, former chief national coach. Former All England champion Pullela Gopi Chand, who has a 1-1 record against the Jakartan, says: “Hidayat is a trapeze artiste on court. He can play stunning shots like the backhand smash and slice from the backcourt. He has the deceptive backhand and forehand shots. He is a genius.” India’s top-ranked player Chetan Anand believes Hidayat has one of the most powerful smashes in the game: “It travels at a terrific speed and lands like a guided missile. It is unbelievable stuff.”
For Hidayat, his performance at the India Open was business as usual. He was on the brink of defeat in the second round against Yun Hu of Hong Kong before overcoming him 18-21, 21-18, 21-19. How Hidayat looked at the match was typical of him. “I was warming up for the tournament,” he said.
Hidayat is a no-nonsense man, straightforward and honest. He says he cannot tolerate anyone who disturbs him. Hidayat once assaulted a spectator who provoked him — in a move reminiscent of former Manchester United star Eric Cantona’s infamous karate kick — during the men’s singles at the 2001 Indonesian National Badminton Championships.
Hidayat has considerable fan following in this country and was greeted by huge roars during the India Open. “It’s nice to have Indian support,” says Hidayat, who could be one of the crowd favourites during the World Championship to be held at SAAP Indoor Stadium in August. “I would like to add my second world title here,” says Hidayat.
The 28-year-old’s biggest enemy is himself. He was consistently inconsistent before finding his form this year. The failure to win the All England title still rankles the Indonesian superstar. He was a semifinalist at the All England Open this year. He has also made it to the final twice — in 1999 and 2000.
“It (failure to win the All England) will remain one of the biggest disappointments of my life,” says Hidayat. “I remember the disappointment of losing my first final to China’s Xi Xuang in 2000. I could not sleep for almost a week after that defeat. I did not return to training for almost a month after that. The disappointment at losing that final went on to haunt me for a long time,” he recalls. But Hidayat is the only male badminton player ever to win the Olympics (2004) and the World Badminton Championship that took place in the following year (2005).
The moody Hidayat proved detractors wrong in the 2006 Doha Asian Games, where he defeated the fierce Lin Dan in the final. The world number 7 says it was a special medal. “Before the Doha Games, a lot of people had written me off. So I had to prove a point,” he says. “I worked very hard pushing myself to the limits. And when I won the gold I was proclaimed a hero in my country. I cannot forget that moment.”
Come August, Hidayat will once again be here to delight Indians as well as fans all over the world. He is enjoying the game again. That is good news for world badminton.
Last edited by Loh; 04-07-2009 at 10:55 AM.
04-07-2009, 11:14 AM #2
TH is far from John McEnroe.
i didnt see TH always argue or cursing the umpire and line judges
04-07-2009, 11:21 AM #3
04-07-2009, 12:12 PM #4
They would be quite similar..
..if Taufik had worn the famous headband adorned by John Mac..
04-07-2009, 01:16 PM #5
04-07-2009, 09:50 PM #6
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