Thursday was very similar to Wednesday. We awoke slightly later and began stringing before 9am. The doors to the apartment were already open so players could collect their rackets. I have a number of meetings planned for the day and a very special trip to the local retailer Racketline.
I was collected from the apartment and driven the short distance to Racketline. Wow, what a shop! I was like the little boy in the sweet shop. There was an entire wall of badminton rackets, loads of clothing, shoes, accessories and bags galore. It’s the best racket store I’ve been in for over 20 years. If you live in the Midlands, I highly recommend you pay Racketline a visit.
I spent the morning at Racketline discussing their plans. Pritesh is a wonderful guy and a great host. He deserves to be successful. He works so hard for badminton players and the local community. Please ensure you give him your support.
Reluctantly I left Racketline as I had a series of meetings in the arena. Ridiculously, at one time I had a queue of 6 people to meet – it was unbelievable! By the time I concluded the last meeting, I had to run to meet up with the Victor team and Pritesh, as we had arranged a meal in an Italian restaurant.
We sit down to eat and then we noticed who else was in the restaurant. There’s a few Danish players including Astrup, Rasmussen and Boe. Then, a group of people from Yonex arrived in suits. They were quickly followed by Lee Yong Dae and Peter Gade – two legends. Lee Yong Dae was unveiled as the latest Yonex legend earlier in the day. It’s funny, as the previous year I was stringing his rackets at this tournament as a Victor player. A lot can happen in a year! I was still dressed in my Victor gear. Lee Yong Dae must have recognised me as he walked over to shake my hand. It was good to see him again, although I felt slightly disappointed that Victor hadn’t retained him.
Some of our team had photos taken with Lee and Peter. I really wanted to but felt it wasn’t right walking into the Yonex camp, dressed in Victor clothing to ask for a photo – it’s important to respect other brands. We had a great night in the restaurant and I have to thank Dave Eddy for the invitation and the meal. It is always good to spend time with Dave. During the meal he was talking about the NBL (National Badminton League) and what was needed to strengthen the league. Sadly, since then Badminton England have cancelled the league following the funding cuts.
I returned to the apartment where Mark had finished for the day. It’s quarter finals day on Friday and there are numerous Victor sponsored players still in the tournament. There’s something good to look forward to and more stories to tell!