Frustration was the overriding emotion for Surrey badminton star Toby Penty after his Scottish Open men’s singles title defence fell at the first hurdle in Glasgow.
The 26-year-old from Walton-on-Thames was knocked out in his first match at the Emirates Arena since he claimed the crown in spectacular style by beating France’s Lucas Corvee.
Penty had a bye in the first round and a walkover in the second, but he had no answer to the challenge posed by Thomas Rouxel as he went down 21-11 21-19 to the Frenchman.
And while he admitted his preparations had been far from ideal, Penty refused to made excuses for his early exit as he vowed to come back and prove he is no one-hit wonder.
“It wasn’t a great performance, it took me a while to get used to what was going on in the first set as I had a bye and then had a walkover,” said the English number six seed.
“I got here on Tuesday and didn’t play until Friday, which probably didn’t help, but he played a really solid match even though I tried my best to get into it in the second set.
“He never gave me a chance to get on top of him and to be fair to him he closed it quite well. There were some good patches but I just couldn’t keep it up for long enough periods.
“At the end of the second game it was anyone’s – he played a couple of good points, I played a couple of good points – but really I just didn’t play at the level I required to get the win.
“I didn’t feel great coming in as I’ve had a long year. It started with a lot of injuries and then it’s just been a lot of tournaments, but I’ve had a few injury problems the last couple of months now.
“It’s not been the perfect run up, but it’s not an excuse – it was my decision to play and I love playing in Scotland as I have great memories from last year.
“It’s a disappointing way to end the year, because that’s my last tournament, but I’m quite excited for a rest, another training block, and to have the chance to come out swinging in 2019.”
His exit was not the only upset in the third round as France’s Brice Leverdez, the top seed after following the withdrawal of Dane Rasmus Gemke, was beaten by Lucas Claerbout.
But Penty insisted he had no one but himself to blame for his defeat, suggesting that he put too much pressure on trying to rediscover the form that took him all the way last year.
“It maybe made a difference not having a match in the first two rounds, but I was as fresh as I probably could be physically, mentally not so much as I’ve played a lot of tournaments,” said Penty, who is based in Milton Keynes.
“Physically I felt okay but maybe I put too much expectation after last year, I think it was inevitable that was going to happen, so there’s no definite as to why things didn’t happen for me.
“I guess it’s just one of those things and I’ll have to go back to the drawing board. I’d like to say I felt no pressure as defending champion, but of course I did.
“This arena holds a special place for me now, it’s where I won my first really big tournament and it was a shock to me as much as it probably was to everyone else to win it.
“It was hard to come in and not think about that, but really it was the fact that I didn’t play well enough. I’m sure there will be a few more Scottish Opens for me.
“Hopefully I’ll be in a bit better shape next time and even though it didn’t happen for me this year, I proved I could do it last year so I know it’s in there somewhere.
“It’s just going to take a bit of time to recover, get some more training under my belt and more experience, and I’ll try and come back and prove that lightning can strike twice.”
A world class field of more than 300 hundred athletes from 37 nations have descended on Glasgow for the third oldest badminton tournament in the world.
Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European medallists are fighting it out over five days, from November 21-25, with the tournament boasting one of the strongest line-ups in its history.
The Scottish Open Badminton Championships are being staged at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow from November 21-25 by Badminton Scotland with support from Glasgow Life, Glasgow City Council and EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate. Tickets are on sale now at www.badmintonscotland.org.uk.