New Delhi: It was a sight to behold. Indonesian men’s doubles pair Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and Marcus Gideon threw their racquets in the air before falling flat on the floor. Exhausted. The duo had defeated Liu Cheng and Zhang Nen in straight games to claim the season-ending Dubai World Superseries crown. The win in Dubai was Kevin and Marcus’s seventh Superseries title of 2017, breaking Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeon Seong’s record of six titles in 2015.
There's more. Kevin and Marcus reached nine finals out of the 10 Superseries tournaments they played in. Such was their dominance in the men's doubles discipline. Called ‘The Minions’, the Indonesians won in England, India, Malaysia, Japan, China, Hong Kong and Dubai World Superseries tournaments to become the best men’s doubles pair in the world. Moreover, the duo was awarded the BWF Player of the Year trophy at the end of the calendar year.
Despite being short in height, the Indonesian pair possesses enough power, variations and guile to take down physically strong opponents. What sets them apart is the way they approach every match. “There was no special preparation last year but it’s our never-say-die attitude on the court that helped us win so many titles last year. We are trying to do the same this season,” Kevin, who was surrounded by the Indonesian fans, told Firstpost.
On Thursday, defending champions Kevin and Marcus defeated Tinn Isriyanet and Kittisak Namdash 21-18, 28-26 to enter the quarter-finals of the India Open. “It was a good win. We like playing here,” laughed Kevin.
The duo missed out on playing at the season-opener Malaysia Masters but bagged their first silverware of the 2018 season at the Indonesia Masters last week. En route to the final, Kevin and Marcus defeated India’s Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, who reached their first Superseries semi-final in Indonesia. “They (Satwiksairaj and Chirag) are great players. They have improved so much in the last 10 to 12 months. We saw them play last year too but this year, they were much better in terms of speed and maturity. In the coming years they will be one of the best pairs in the world,” said Marcus.
The duo is looking to emulate last year’s success but haven’t set any targets for the season as it would put them under pressure. “The coach has not set any targets for us because that would put us under pressure. He doesn’t want us to focus on this event or that event. Kevin and I put up a fight wherever we play and that’s how we win,” said Marcus.
“But the target for this year is the same as last year but we are focusing on team tournaments such as the upcoming Asian Team Badminton Championships, Asian Games and the World Championships,” he added.
The pair further stated that their calendar is almost set for the 2018 season but they need to pick and choose top tournaments to be in line with the Badminton World Federation’s (BWF) regulations. “We have already planned to play top tournaments this year as you know the new BWF rule says that we need to compete in 12 tournaments. We played like 10 tournaments last year and now we need to play two more. It’s going to be busy,” he concluded.
Updated Date: Feb 02, 2018 15:07:41 IST