By Katie Falkingham, Sportsbeat
Like most youngsters, Viktor Axelsen had big dreams as a child. His? To become the best in the world.
Now, at the grand old age of 23, that dream could become a reality in just a matter of weeks for the Dane – a world title well within his grasp as the Total BWF World Championships descends on Glasgow.
Should that happen come August 27, it would be the icing on the cake for the 2014 bronze medallist, an Olympic title the only other major title to have got away so far.
Having missed out on retaining his European crown in April - he took bronze having lost out to compatriot Anders Antonsen in the semi-finals - Axelsen has been busy battling back to full fitness following a foot injury.
But that’s not to say the world number three has a point to prove - he’s got his groove back and he’s ready to unleash it on the world.
“The World Championships, along with the Olympics and Thomas Cup, is one of the events which we most look forward to, so I’m really excited,” said Axelsen.
“I’ve had a few issues with my foot leading up to this tournament, however, it is under control now and I won’t have any more issues in these last few weeks leading up to this tournament. I am getting more and more into a good rhythm.
“Hopefully I can go in good form. I have to believe in myself and believe that a world title is possible.
“Since I was a little child, I have always dreamed of becoming world champion. It would be a huge achievement, and something that I will keep chasing for the rest of my career.
“The World Championships is so special to me, so to win would be a big dream come true.
“I’m looking forward to playing such a big tournament on European soil. I think there will be a great set-up in Glasgow, and it’s nice that we don’t have to deal with jet lag too!”
With European and Thomas Cup titles already to his name, the world title is one that has so far evaded Axelsen’s bulging medal collection.
Bronze on home soil three years ago was the closest he has come to date, but having scooped gold at the BWF World Superseries Finals in December, the time is arguably nigh for Axelsen to take his rightful place atop the podium.
But with so many men’s singles shuttlers playing at the top of their game in the lead up to Glasgow, Axelsen is under no illusions as to the challenge that lies in wait.
“I have proven, on multiple occasions, that when I am at my best, I am one of the best in the world,” he said.
“I have to believe that. Men’s singles is so competitive so you have to be at the top of your game, otherwise you can lose out to a lot of players.
“You can’t come and give 80 or 90 per cent, otherwise you will lose. I’m really focused on playing my best, and then I know I can go far.
“There are a lot of threats to me getting gold. [Kidambi] Srikanth of India has been playing really well, and of course there are the likes of Lin Dan, Chen Long and Lee Chong Wei.
“It’s a really open category at the moment. There are too many names to say just a few people who could do well.”
The TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017 will be staged at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena from 21-27 August.
It is being delivered by BADMINTONscotland in partnership with Glasgow Life and Glasgow City Council and with funding support from EventScotland and The National Lottery through UK Sport.
Tickets available at www.glasgow2017.com/tickets