Being away from competitions for nine months has only made Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and Marcus Fernaldi Gideon more determined to maintain their status as the world’s top men’s pair, according to coach Herry Iman Pierngadi.
And with the season set to resume next month in Bangkok, the Indonesians have their sights on the big prize – the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2020 crown.
Pierngadi believes the pause in the calendar due to the COVID-19 pandemic has afforded the duo time to reflect on their game since losing the YONEX All England Open 2020 final in March to Hiroyuki Endo/Yuta Watanabe.
“They still have the desire to be champions. In fact, the long break has made them even more motivated. They want to win more,” men’s doubles coach Pierngadi told CNN Indonesia.
As the world’s highest ranked pair, their berths at the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2020 (27-31 January) look assured before the final list of qualified athletes is confirmed at the conclusion of TOYOTA Thailand Open on 24 January.
Sukamuljo and Gideon, however, are yet to taste success at the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals.
Last year in Guangzhou, they went down in the semifinals to Endo and Watanabe while a year earlier, the Minions pulled out after Gideon injured his neck. Their only triumph at a year-ender came in 2017 in Dubai.
The aim for Pierngadi first and foremost, who also coaches Hendra Setiawan/Mohammad Ahsan and Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto, is to perform well at the two Super 1000 events, starting with the YONEX Thailand Open (12-17 January).
“We have targets. All three of our pairs have good rankings so semifinals and final is the minimum,” he said.