Viktor Axelsen pulled out of the Indonesia Masters badminton tournament shortly after losing the India Open Super 750 final to Kunlavut Vitidsarn on Sunday. It was his second consecutive appearance in the final in two successive weeks.
“Hi everyone. I will unfortunately not be going to Indonesia next week. I had been looking forward to playing in Istora in front of the amazing Indonesian badminton fans as always, but my body is not ready for another week of competition. Talk to you soon and thanks for your support,” Axelsen wrote in a Twitter post.
The Danish shuttler won a world record seven Super Series titles in 2022. However, minutes after his defeat to Vitidsarn in New Delhi, he complained about the BWF’s tour itinerary, terming it “really tough”.
“There are so many tournaments in world tour now...you can’t play everything and perform well all around the year. Having a 5-6 hours flight, going from Malaysia then flying all the way to India across a time zone, and flying back in same time zone, when you look at the health, and everything, it is not good and hopefully we can do better,” said Axelsen in an interview with PTI on Sunday.
Axelsen also said he woould be participating only in selective tournaments going ahead. “There is a world championship in Denmark, which I want to do well in. Super 1000s is something which I prioritise a lot. Last week I won one of them and hopefully, I can do it again at the All England.”
The world no. 1 men’s singles player won the season-opening Malaysia Open, a Super Series Premier level tournament, on January 15 in Kuala Lumpur and the India Open started on January 17. The next event, Indonesia Masters in Jakarta, will get underway on January 24, giving shuttlers less time for recovery from tournament fatigue.
On Sunday, in a marathon three-game thriller, Axelsen went down to rising star Vitidsarn 20-22, 21-10, 12-21 in an hour and four minutes. World no. 8 Thai emerging star became only the fourth shuttler to beat Axelsen on the BWF World Tour in the last two years.
The World Badminton Federation (BWF), in 2022, raised the tournament count to 31 for the ongoing season, with the Super Series level events reaching Finland and Canada.
As the Olympics qualification cycle starts in May, it will be difficult for players to overlook those tournaments.