Posted on 11th April 2023
By RJ Mitchell
CHRIS GRIMLEY has set a world top-32 ranking as the primary target for his partnership with brother Matthew.
The Scottish No.2 men’s doubles pairing currently sit at No.42 in the Badminton World Federation rankings which are updated every Thursday, and this week’s edition could see the twins break the top-40 after an impressive week’s work at the Orleans Masters.
But as Chris explained when it comes to the numbers game 32 is the double-digit that could prove a game-changer for him and Matthew.
He said: “After Orleans our ranking should get a boost as you pick up some decent points for a first round win in a Super 300.
“We are 42 just now and we were top-40 a few months back but we have a shot of getting back in there and then the next big target ranking wise is the top-32.
“If you break that then it makes a huge difference as a lot of Super 1000 and Super 750 events only have 32-draw and breaking into that is tough.
“This year we have been first reserve for a few tournaments now and so that 32 ranking and above guarantees us entry which would be massive.
“Because of this we missed out at the All England (Super 1000) which was in March, as we were first reserves and that was a sore one as it is the big one really and the tournament we all want to play in.
“Also in Malaysia we were first reserve and we travelled there but although that didn’t happen because we were playing in the India Open the following week we were able to train with all the other European players so it wasn’t too bad and certainly not as sore as missing the All England.
“But definitely that 32 ranking is something we are hoping to achieve as soon as possible and hopefully at some point this year.”
At the Orleans Masters last week there was a fine win for the twins over the Chinese Taipei pairing of Lin Yu Chieh and Su Li Wei which came via an epic 19-21 27-25 21-19 victory.
As Chris revealed this was a particularly satisfying victory: “They beat us in November at the Irish Open so it was very nice to get revenge. At 73 minutes we have only played one match longer and physically it was quite tough there is no question about that.
“The last time in the third set they got a bit of a lead and this time we stuck to our tactics and were more disciplined and that kept the errors down and that all helped get us over the line.
“In badminton if you give the other pair a lead you are under pressure the whole way and this time it was us who kept our noses in front and we were just pleased to get the job done.”
Next up ‘en France’ were the No.3 seeded Indonesian pairing of Mohammad Shohibul & Bagas Maulana and this time it was the Scots who were on the wrong end of an agonising three-set defeat 21-17, 20-22, 19-21.
Reflecting on this Chris said: “We were never up in the third and it was always point for point and at 18-18 one of the Indonesian guys took a few risks and they came off and we went down 20-18 and then they got the win 21-19 and I’d say the difference was experience.
“They are 15 in the world and have played all the big tournaments, they know what to do when it matters most and have beaten a lot of good pairings and they just handled the pressure that bit better.”
Chris added: “But I feel like we have gone toe to toe with the No.15 pair in the world and that has really given us confidence to push on and hopefully, as I said, we can nudge our world ranking up that bit and then get into more of the top level tournaments.
“In the matches we have played I feel like we haven’t underperformed at all but we just need to convert good performances into wins that bit more. We lost to the Indonesians in three and then in Madrid it was the Indians (lost: Arjun & Kapila 21-16, 17-21, 12-21) we lost to in three and it is about getting that little edge on them.”
The twins are heading to Tenerife this week for some well-earned beach time but already the next tournament on their busy schedule is looming large as Chris shared: “Our next event is on 17 May with the Slovenian Open but before then we have a training block and we want to use that and everything we have learned and absorbed over the last few tournaments to put in a really strong challenge there.
“It is an International Challenge but hopefully we will be seeded as the Polish was International Challenge and we were seeded in the top four there so hopefully we will be in there again depending on how strong the tournament draw is.
“A good showing at the Slovenian would really help keep the momentum we have been building to continue but first it will be great to have a holiday.
“It has been a very busy period and it’s important to have a break at the right time to try and stay fresh mentally and physically when you come back.”