After an injury-free 2014, Walton-on-Thames badminton ace Toby Penty insists he is really ready to blow the cobwebs away this year.
For most of last year Penty was searching for a way back to full fitness, the 22-year-old being forced to spend six months on the sidelines after tearing knee ligaments at the 2013 World Championships.
But after a slow start to his comeback Penty ended 2014 by reaching the final of the Welsh International before repeating the feat last month in Estonia.
Penty might have lost on both occasions – to Scotland’s Kieran Merrilees and Estonia’s Anton Kaisti respectively – but for the former Halliford Scool pupil it was just good to be back in the showpieces.
And with a busy-looking calendar ahead of him, kicking off with the YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships in Birmingham next month, Penty is eager to prove he is back to his best.
“For me 2014 was all about coming back from injury, I had quite an injury-prone end to 2013 so last year was all about rebuilding and getting my ranking back,” he said.
“I got to the final of the Welsh at the end of 2014 and Estonia at the start of 2015 so it’s been a building year and all about getting back on track.
“Results weren’t going my way but you have to realise that it’s a journey and you have to get to the end and I’m glad that I went through it.
“It’s nothing that anyone wants to go through but it makes you stronger. I get the odd bit of pain now and then but it’s nothing I can’t handle and we can’t manage.
“2014 in general was injury free so that was positive and I feel like I’m almost back in the top 100 which for any player is something you can tick off.
“I was there before and got into the top 70 so for me to get back there is a real key and will be a real moral victory for me and I can move on from there.
“I’ve had a good start to 2015 already and got to one final so hopefully that can put me in good stead for the rest of the tournaments.”
For Penty now all focus is on the Yonex All England, taking place between March 3-8, it is the first Superseries Premier event of 2015 and features all the world’s best players.
And after losing to Sam Parsons for the second year running at last month’s English National Championships Penty is keen to bounce back in style against the great and the good in Birmingham.
“I lost in the quarter-finals at the Nationals to Sam Parsons,” he added. “I expected myself to win and it was annoying because I lost to him in the 2014 nationals.
“So to have lost twice in a row against him is really frustrating because it’s a match I really should have won.
“I think the Nationals always bring out different emotions and feelings and for me it’s about conquering them and figuring out how to beat the younger players who are hungry to beat me.
“It was a shame I didn’t win but I know that when I do win it will be sweeter and I am keen to get back on track at the All England now.”
Tickets for the YONEX All England 2015 at the stunning new Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham are available at allenglandbadminton.com or call the box office on 0844 444 9994.