Lee Zii Jia hasn’t had the easiest time over the last few months, on and off the court. A cryptic social media post last week added to the speculation around what he was going through, and he’d arrived at the YONEX All England 2023 with more questions than answers.
Some of the trademark swagger was back during his second round against Kenta Nishimoto on Thursday, but the fourth seed was cautious about reading too much into his performance, having made his first quarterfinal in seven events.
“The feel is getting better. Hopefully I can get better with every match,” said Lee. “This did mean a lot to me.
“Everyone knows the All England is a big tournament. I just want to get back my confidence, and I think I did pretty well.”
On Tuesday, after his first round, Lee had admitted to facing a crisis of confidence, given the challenges he was going through.
“Being an independent player is a new challenge and it seems like it’s a tough challenge for me now,” he said. “I have chosen it and I have to face it now.
“I’m trying my best to regain my confidence, to find what I’ve lost, which is character and confidence. What’s happening is tough, but life goes on. We have to move forward and I just can’t give up. Because I’m already here. Everybody told me it’s a process, just be patient. I just try to do what I have to do now.”
Perhaps, he acknowledged, the All England might be the place to rediscover what he’d lost, given that he’d enjoyed his career’s biggest moment here two years ago.
“I’ve always performed well at the All England. This is my fourth time here. I hope I can find myself on this court again.”
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