By RJ Mitchell
CHRIS GRIMLEY has revealed his determination to defend the Scottish Open Men’s Doubles Championship when badminton’s third oldest tournament returns at the Emirates Arena from 5-8 October 2023 (get your tickets now!)
This year’s Scottish Open has an entry of 252 players from 36 countries with a strong Scottish representation across all five disciplines.
Yet the return of the tournament following a two year hiatus has refocussed the 23-year-old’s mind on his career highlight – so far – which came when Chris and twin Matthew recorded an impressive straight sets victory over the Malaysian pairing of Junaidi Arif and Muhammad Haikal to win the 2021 championships in front of an enraptured home crowd.
It’s no surprise then that Chris believes home support can truly make all the difference for the Scottish contingent at this year’s tournament.
Reflecting on all of this Chris said: “The Scottish Open definitely has a special place in my affections. Obviously it has not been played for the last couple of years due to Covid but we won it in 2021 and it was definitely the high point of our career.
“It is the only time we have won an international title and with it being in Scotland it just made it absolutely unique for us and it was a very proud moment.
“We beat Arif and Haikal in the final but our best win was the semi-finals where we beat the former World No.2 pairing, the Kims, 21-18 in the third set and when we won that in front of our home crowd we were on a real roll.
“So It’s always nice when your friends and family can come and watch and it just make things that bit more special and certainly that was how it turned out for us.
“Looking forward to this year’s event everyone that we have spoken too in training are really looking forward to the Scottish Open coming back.
“The atmosphere is always special in front of a home crowd and when you can pick out friends and family in the crowd it definitely gives you that extra boost.”
While Scottish team mates Adam Hall and Alex Dunn will not be joining the Grimleys in the draw due to other tournament commitments linked to Olympic qualification, the twins are joined by training partners Adam Pringle and Jack MacGregor in the main draw and Chris is delighted to be keeping familiar company.
The Scotland international said: “We train with Adam and Jack every day and we are all good friends off the court and it would be nice to see them do well and with all our team mates that is the case.
“Probably the Danish pair of Vestergaard and Lundgaard are the biggest threat. We played them once before losing in the semi-finals at the Polish Open in two close sets and they went on to win that one.
“They have only been partnered up for about 18-months but they have also won the Mexican Open Challenge and they are playing well.
“They combine really well as one is strong in the rear court and the other very strong in the front court and so they mix pretty well together.
“Then the Irish lads Joshua Magee and Paul Reynolds are also tough and we beat them at the Polish in a hard match so they are a pairing we need to watch out for.”
With nine other Scots in the Men’s Doubles draw, home hopes will be high of a strong tournament, but with Chris just returning to full training this week after a niggling shoulder injury that impacted on the Grimley’s World Championships hopes, his determination to mount a strong defence of the title he cherishes above all else was clear.
He said: “We didn’t have the best World Championships as I was struggling a bit with a shoulder injury and after the tournament I took a while to get it sorted out and I am just really returning to full training this week.
“So losing out 22-24 in the third in our opening round in Copenhagen was a sore one and now we are just really determined to get back on court at the Emirates and put that all behind us and doing everything we can to defend our Scottish Open title.”
Meanwhile in the Women’s Doubles Scottish champions Julie MacPherson and Ciara Torrance will spearhead home hopes with a total of four home pairings taking to the court.
Also competing are two-time former champions Gabriela and Stefani Stoeva who were victorious in 2014 and 2018.
In the Women’s Singles, although Kirsty Gilmour is missing due to Olympic qualification tournament commitments, Rachel Sugden returns from a string of foreign competitions to lead an eight strong Scottish contingent which includes juniors stars Iona Muir and Katrina Chan.
In the Men’s Singles, Scottish National Championship runner-up Matthew Waring leads home hopes with James Robertson also prominent in a 12 strong home entry.
While Irish hopes will rest on the talents of World No.37 Nhat Nguyen – who is certainly one to watch out for.
In the Mixed Doubles, there are eight all-Scottish pairings with Chris Grimley back in action with Eleanor O’Donnell and Rachel Andrew and Adam Pringle leading home hopes.
Member Ticket Offers
We have great ticket offers for Badminton Scotland Individual Members including FREE entry on Thursday and Friday.
If you are already a member, you will have received an email which includes your discount code for tickets on Eventbrite*.
If you are not currently a member and want to make savings of over £20 on tickets then please sign up as an Individual Member of Badminton Scotland and you will receive a discount code on confirmation of your membership from our JustGo system.
* Tickets must be ordered in advance to take advantage of these offers. Free and discounted tickets will not be available on the door at the Emirates Arena, even for Badminton Scotland members.
Please note: Ticket offers for The Scottish Open are not included in the ‘Monthly Trial Membership’. To receive such offers, you are required to purchase an Individual Membership.
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