Malaysia Open: New Year, New Hair, New Antonsen

The last time Anders Antonsen took to a badminton court on the HSBC BWF World Tour, the Dane was unmistakeably sporting a long hair, with his blonde locks tied back.

Recurring injuries sent him missing from the scene for four months that when he returned today at PETRONAS Malaysia Open 2023 – his first match since losing the Japan Open semifinal to Kenta Nishimoto in early September – he wore a fresher look with a neat barnet.

In the hair-raiser against Weng Hong Yang, Antonsen displayed steely determination to haul himself back 8-21 22-20 21-19 from a losing position. Momentarily, the 25-year-old was even two match points down.

“Extremely happy I found a way to win,” said Antonsen. “Definitely not easy, it’s fair to say I was quite rusty. I haven’t played a match for so long, not even a training match. That I could win the very first match, I’m surprised by that.”

Last year had not been kind to the former world No.2, now ranked 30th. A abdominal muscle pull in May took two months to heal, then he was forced to forego participation at the Denmark and French Opens due to further injury issues.

“This win means a lot. I’ve been struggling the last year and a half, the last six months have been especially horrible. It was a great relief to get back on court and win. I was fighting hard and you could see the emotions at the end.”

Antonsen shouts in delight after winning.

Good rehab in Spain following his withdrawals has led to, Antonsen hopes, a better place as far as fitness is concerned.

“Physically I’m in great shape and fitness wise, I feel quite good,” assured Antonsen. “But tournament matches are something else, I expect my muscles to be sore tomorrow. I will fight through that as always.”

Antonsen is aware the next challenge awaiting him would not be a cakewalk.

“I know I’m facing (Anthony Sinisuka) Ginting. Tough match but it’s going to be fun as well. I’m looking forward to it.”

So Anders, what’s the story behind the missing, now-legendary long locks?

“I was getting tired of it. In Spain, it was quite warm and the hair was annoying me. I went into a barber shop and two minutes later it was gone. I was like ‘yeah, this is good’.”

Results (Day 1)

Order of play (Day 2)

BWF World Tour News

Title Sponsor