Points mean prizes for Chris Grimley

Posted on 11th July 2023

By RJ Mitchell

CHRIS GRIMLEY has admitted it will be very much a case of points mean prizes at the Yonex US Open this week.

Chris and brother Matthew suffered a tight first round loss in last week’s Yonex Canada Open but with the event enjoying Super 500 status the brothers Grimley still pocketed around 880 ranking points.

Yet after missing out on Team GB selection for the European Games in June the Scots world ranking has remained stubbornly stuck at No.44 after several of the pairings above them benefitted from the extra ranking points on offer in Krakow.

Now ahead of their first round encounter at Council Bluffs, Iowa, with the Canadian pairing of Lam Wai Lok and Lap Kan Kern, Chris admitted there is a lot riding on the outcome.

He said: “The US is a Super 300 and Canada was a Super 500 and there are some good points available from them if you do well.

“You do actually get points from losing in the first round with it being a Super 500 last week that will be a help although we lost. But a win this week would be a real plus to build on that.

“Obviously we didn’t make the GB Team for the European Games and there were a lot of people picking up ranking points at that and that hasn’t helped us in terms of breaking into the top-40.

“This week we have a Canadian pair who are originally from Hong Kong and we have never played against them but they played the Olympic champions last week and took them close in Canada. So it is a tough one and if we get through then it will be the Chinese five seeds.”

When it came to preparations for this week the Grimleys, who arrived in the US on Saturday, have been going into forensic detail in a bid to get the ‘W.’

Chris explained: “We have done a bit of video analysis and watched their match from the Canadian Open. So we have analysed how they serve and return, defend and also how to play them most effectively.

“One of them is actually left-handed and he is a little bit sharper at the net where the right-hander is a wee bit weaker in defence.

“So this last couple of days before the match it is just about the detail really to prepare as best we can.”

When it came to last week’s loss in the Canadian Open, as Chris explained there were some unexpected positives which developed from the trip to Calgary: “We had a really tight match with the Chinese Taipei pairing (Lee Jhe-Huei & Yang Po-Hsuan, 18-22, 19-21) who are ranked 19 in the world but we played well and it does give us a bit of confidence going into the US this week,” said Chris.

He continued: “We were actually up 14-10 in both sets and then at the end in the clutch points they took more risks and it came off for them, to be fair they played well when it mattered.

“But the big plus was that we had a few days practise in Vancouver as there was an English pair, an Irish pair and some of the French guys, so we actually had a good training group in Canada.

“Also given that we played and lost our first round on Tuesday, which was the first day of the tournament and our match at the US is a week later it really worked out well. It was just good to train with different guys who have different ways of doing things.”

The ad hoc Canadian training camp it’s clear provided the Grimleys with some timely quality preparation as Chris shared: “We did drills and conditioned games, a lot of it was one shuttle whereas back home we do multi-shuttle routines but we didn’t travel with a lot of shuttles so you have to save them.

“Some of the halls are quite fast and that means you can’t actually lift so you have to play flat or always on the net and so there is more pressure, so it is vital to take control of the net or you have lost.

“So we trained with three pairs and were doing four v two to increase pressure and we also did three v two – again to up the pressure.

“But most of the time it was open out rallies to 21 and then rotate players, then matches and conditioned games.

“But from our perspective it was time really well spent.”

Looking beyond this week’s tournament action the World Championships in Copenhagen are starting to loom large for Chris and Matthew: “We have one week off on holiday and then back to training for world champs so we are looking forward to a little break,” said the Scotland international.

He continued: “The world champs is the biggest tournament of the year and we definitely want a good training block before going into that.

“One of our major goals is to go as far as we can this year as there are obviously a lot of ranking points up for grabs.

“Everyone wants to be world champions but just to go far in that tournament would be huge for us.”

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