World No.18 men’s pair Ben Lane and Sean Vendy will be among the home crowd’s biggest hopes to end their wait for success at YONEX All England Open 2023.
Not since mixed pair Nathan Robertson/Gail Emms in 2005 have England produced winners at the world’s oldest tournament but in Lane and Vendy, they can count on a partnership that ended 2022 on a high, beating several of the planet’s best tandems.
And it helps that they are great friends off court.
“We set similar goals and ambitions, we are working towards the same thing,” Lane, 25, told Badminton England.
“In doubles, having good dynamics is one of the most important things, especially when it gets tough out there. Emotions are high during matches and when you are struggling in stressful situations, you need a partner you can trust, and we trust each other.
“We’ve been through so much throughout our careers on and off the court that it’s probably one of our biggest strengths – when it gets tough we stay together.”
This will be the duo’s fifth straight appearance at the prestigious competition. They are yet to move past the second round but have taken great confidence from defeating four of the world’s then top six pairs – Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik, Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin and Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto – in the final four months of last year.
“Towards the end, everything fell into place. We started putting it all together when it mattered,” said Vendy. “We want to go deep this time, whether that’s quarterfinal, semifinal or final – it’s got to be past the second round. I haven’t done amazingly at this tournament – best is yet to come.”
Lane added: “We know if we perform our best, we can challenge anyone and for titles. We showed that by reaching the Commonwealth Games final and French Open semifinal.
“Our game has improved a lot over the last couple of years, but that’s down to the work we put in every day. When you do that, results follow.”
Lane and Vendy have been drawn to face Liu Yu Chen/Ou Xuan Yi in the first round in Birmingham. Ironically, they have only played two matches this year and lost both – to the Chinese fifth seeds. Vendy remains optimistic.
“We are doing a lot of physical training. A lot of matchplay, which is helping us replicate what’s out there. Doing three versus two, putting maximum pressure on ourselves,” he said.
“We are training probably the hardest we’ve ever been trained. I feel great, Ben feels good. It’s inevitable soon we will have another big result. Hopefully that’s at the All England.”