Since the decade began, the world No.7s failed to make at least the quarterfinal stage at only 12 of 37 tournaments. Even more remarkably, they fell in the opening round only twice in the last three years. Ong and Teo also bagged bronze at the 2021 World Championships in Huelva and finished runners-up to Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty at the Badminton Asia Championships in April.
One glaring miss, however, has been a title, with their last coming in 2020 at the Thailand Masters.
“Yes, we go deep into tournaments but we don’t have too many titles to show for our consistency,” admitted Teo after the 21-18 21-13 Singapore Open 2023 first round victory over French brothers Toma and Christo Popov. “That should be the next story of journey.
“We’ve been able to regularly reach the quarterfinals and beyond because we never set any targets. It’s cliched but for us it’s literally one match at a time. When we are playing, we don’t save anything for later, be it energy or effort. We leave it all out there whoever the opponents.”
The 30-year-old Teo appears a lot calmer on court these days, a change he attributes to fatherhood. Teo and wife Sophia welcomed a baby boy named Arthur in October.
“I don’t get to see my child that often because of all the travelling to tournaments,” he said. “But being a father has trained me to be patient. I feel it has also made me tougher mentally. I guess the every three-hour middle-of-the-night waking up has its perks.”
Ong, the chirpier of the two, chimed in with a tongue-in-cheek comment: “Babies cry all the time but he can’t get angry. That’s how he’s learning patience.”
On their 31-minute win against the Popovs, Ong gave a more measured feedback.
“They are a good pair but we had better control at the net and took our opportunities well,” he said.
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