Bengaluru: It has been an eventful year for 22-year-old badminton star, Viktor Axelsen. The year began with him getting picked for the Denmark team which emerged triumphant in the Thomas Cup for the first time.
Axelsen then won the European Championships before scooping up a bronze in the Rio Olympics, defeating China’s world no. 6 Lin Dan.
Add a couple of runner-up positions in the Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold, the Japan and Australian Super Series — the Dane, currently ranked no. 3 in the world, is all set to light up the court for Bengaluru Blasters in the upcoming Premier Badminton League beginning on New Year’s day.
Axelsen made headlines when he defeated fellow compatriot Jan Jorgensen to win his first European crown in May and there has been no turning back since. At the other end, Blasters, armed with a new name and potent team composition, will bank on the young turk to deliver after a forgettable 2016 season.
Playing for the Sachin Tendulkar-owned Blasters, Axelsen, set for his debut in the PBL, is keen to prove himself.
Affirming that PBL would be a great place to learn, the Danish player feels it is the best way forward to help badminton gain wider traction. It also means rubbing shoulders with senior top-ranked pros across the world and showcase his skills.
“It’s nice to be here, and to be a part of a team where you play with and against some top-quality players.. the experience will definitely help in going forward,” Axelsen said in an interview.
“It will be a challenge. I will be up against new players and even if I have already faced a few players before, I cannot take anyone lightly,” he said.
The right-hander was quick to add that the he would have to bring in more aggression to his game play. “The level of competition is high and it’s always unpredictable, it means that you should bring you’re A-game to the table,” he opined.
Being third in the BWF rankings doesn’t seem put any pressure on Axelesen. “It is obviously pleasing to be up in the top-three, but you can’t be distracted by it,” he remarked.
“Winning in the Olympics was an achievement. It has helped me in going in the right direction, but it’s a thing of the past and now the aim is to try and be the best in each tournament I take part in,” he signed off.