London Olympian Rajiv Ouseph is targeting an improvement in consistency after falling to defeat in round one at the YONEX All England Badminton Championships.
Any draw at the prestigious All Englands is always tough but England’s No.1 men’s singles player was always up against it on day one in Birmingham against world No.11 Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia.
Ouseph, who represented Great Britain at the 2016 Rio Olympics, is 22 places lower in the world rankings and lost out 21-16 21-19 at Arena Birmingham.
He said: “Obviously I’m disappointed with how it finished, losing three points at the end because I thought I played the right style in the second game but it just wasn’t meant to be.
“He attacked a little bit better than me today and I made a few more mistakes but his style of game is just being very consistent. It’s my aim to be consistent too but today he was just a little bit more.
“It’s been a bit stop start for me so far this year but my last tournament was quite a good one so I had confidence coming here, but it’s a very tough match and to be fair all the first rounds here are very tough.
“I tried my best but it just wasn’t enough.”
Roared on by home support, Ouseph was level pegging with Sugiarto at 10-10 in the first game before the Indonesian star sprinted away with eight consecutive points.
The 32-year-old English shuttler, now a proud dad after baby Zach arrived in September, was leading 19-18 in the second game before succumbing.
He added: “For me it’s the pinnacle of our season here with the exception of the World Championships and Olympics, so I always try and do well and it’s a shame I couldn’t.
“I’ve now got the European Games coming up in two months and that’s the next big one for me so I’ve got a bit of time to prepare for it.”
The 2019 YONEX All England – Badminton’s Greatest Show on the sport’s world tour – will wow fans at Arena Birmingham, 6-10 March. For tickets and information: www.allenglandbadminton.com or search All England tickets.