Chen Long is completely humbled by Momota today, that after putting up such a good fight in their previous meeting which even earned Momota's praise. It goes to show how smart and analytical a player is Momota. At the same time, Momota is proof that you need more than raw speed and power to beat him. Similarly for great players like Lin Dan and Lee CW in their heyday though Lin Dan is well-known for his explosive attacking game. Chen Long in his prime, during which he snatched three consecutive major titles from LCW, still is not as talented and smart as Lin Dan and LCW but he has the amazing physicality to make up for what he lacks in skills and anticipation, that is his forte. Unfortunately, as Chen Long crosses the 30 mark in age, I have my doubts he can reach his peak once again, not easy at all for him, unless or provided he is able to learn new tricks. But, the key question is, how to teach an old dog new tricks? Especially when Chen Long is not considered a smart, thinking player, in my opinion? Makes me wonder what Li Mao can do for Chen Long when Xia Xuanze and Zheng Yu couldn't until now. At most, Chen Long can return to or near his former peak, even that is quite a challenge, let alone enable him who is about to reach his twilight years (in badminton terms) attain greater heights. Lin Dan was able to peak twice in his career - around Beijing'08 and then at the London 2012 Olympics - the first time by his explosive attacking style based on speed, power and accuracy, and then the second time by developing into a more all-rounded and complete player as he matured and accumulated much valuable experience to complement his thinking ability and smartness. Of course, in both cases, he possessed the requisite high level of consistency and quality shotmaking, characteristics which define all great players at their best, albeit there was a slight change in playing style in the sense that he was less aggressive than in 2008 but became a bit more patient and rallying before sudden injection of pace in 2012. As we know, after a year-long hiatus, from 2013 onward, he transformed into an entirely different kind of player as he ages and largely by choice, a conscious decision of his for which I need not elaborate as it is plain obvious for all those who have been following him all these years. But, all in all, let's not forget that Lin Dan was still only 29 when he peaked the second time at the London'12 Olympics. Chen Long, on the other hand, will be turning 31 next January 18, and for such a physical player, age is even more of a concern, a definite disadvantage as the years go by. Frankly, I don't see Chen Long transforming into a rallying, stroke player a la Lin Dan in 2013 - I just disbelieve he can succeed no matter how hard he tries as I opine that he simply lacks the smartness despite having the maturity, knowledge and experience accumulated over the long years of his career. As for LCW, he is another special case, also a rare talent like Lin Dan, and his ability to transform himself into a highly offensive player post-Beijing'08 and quickly reached his peak, and, not only that, he then continued to maintain his peak conditions for so many years till age finally caught up with him leading to inevitable decline, a phenomenal feat indeed. Even so, just before he was struck down by a disease that eventually forced him to retire, he proved his outstanding talent by, at the ripe old age of 35, beating the then 24-year-old Momota for the MAS Open crown in 2018, against the most in-form and hostshot player at that time. Truly an exceptional achievement for any player around that age, in their twilight years. Perhaps, I'm sounding rather harsh towards Chen Long, coming immediately after his humiliating defeat to Momota today at the Denmark Open'19 Final, and that without waiting for the newly-appointed and much-touted coach, Li Mao, enough time to get to work on him. That's just my opinion, offhand. Ok, I shall for the time being suspend my somewhat pessimistic judgement of Chen Long and Li Mao's ability to elevate his game to another level or regain his former prowess if that is sufficient to win the highest glory. Let's wait and see.