BY RJ Mitchell
MATTHEW GRIMLEY has revealed that winning mind games could be the key to a successful World Championship campaign.
With just five weeks until the Royal Arena in Copenhagen, Denmark, plays host to the Total Energies BWF World Championship, for what will be the fifth time the event has been held in the Danish capital, Matthew and Chris Grimley are keen to repeat their charge to the last-16 of the game’s premier tournament.
Following on from their run to the second round of the Yonex US Open, which saw the Grimley’s claim a vital victory over the adopted Canadian duo of Lam Wai Lok and Lap Kan Kern Pong (21-19, 18-21, 22-20), Matthew has revealed that applying the benefits of sports psychology is now starting to help the duo get ahead.
“Recently we have been talking about critical moments in matches with a sports psychologist called Rachel Hannen, which has been with the help of sportscotland,” shared Matthew.
He continued: “So what Rachel has been working on with us is how we can stay relaxed but focussed and not be worrying about the outcome and working out how to deal with all of that when the pressure is on is definitely helping us and I’d say it was a big plus in America.
“At this level the detail is really important and these things can make all the difference when it matters most.
“We really needed that win against Lok and Pong, we knew them from quite a few of the tournaments as they have played several events that we competed at and are originally from Hong Kong but play under the Canadian flag and we knew it would be tough.
“Also with us being the higher ranked pair we were going into this one under a wee bit of pressure and it was one of these matches we just needed to get the win and we were really happy to achieve that.
“It was a really close match but the difference was that sometimes we struggle when it is tight. But this time we stayed relaxed in the close points and to be fair we did get a bit of luck when it mattered most but hopefully we earned that.
“But I’d say our work with Rachel was a help in this one and it’s nice when that type of work starts to pay off.”
Standing in the way of a deep run at Council Bluffs, Iowa, last week were the No.5 seeded Chinese pair of Chen Bo Yang and Liu Yi who won 12-21, 15-21.
Matthew tells us: “It was just a wee bit unlucky that we drew the Chinese five seeds in the second round who are playing really well.
“They were really physical on court and just two strong guys and they have had some very good results of late. When they were on the attack they were very strong and you could see how much power they were putting through the shuttle.
“They made it through to the semis and I’d say they were at a level just above us and that is where we have to aspire to be.
“Overall they were also that bit more consistent than us but the big thing was just how effective they were when on the attack and they really put the shuttle on the floor easily.
“So it was constant pressure and they gave away very few free points.”
With the Grimleys also suffering a tough draw at the Yonex Canadian Open where they were beaten by Chinese Taipei World ranked No.21 duo Lee Jhe-Huei and Yang Po-Hsuan 18-21, 19-21, Matthew revealed that there is specific work to be done on the training court in the build up to next month’s World Championships.
He said: “Overall I’d say we were hoping for slightly better results over the two weeks but we did show some decent quality and particularly in the first round of the US, but there are definitely areas we need to work on now we are back in Scotland.
“So, we are both really looking forward to getting another training bock in before the World Championships next month.
“If I had to single out one key area we need to improve it would be our flat play in the drive situations as this is an area which the Asian players are very strong in.
“We definitely can get sharper in this aspect of our play and if we can there is no doubt that it will help move our game on and help us compete with the pairs at the next level.”
Projecting forward Matthew admitted that the shadow of the World Championships is already starting to loom large and he said: “So Copenhagen will be our third World Championships together and we are really looking forward to it as it’s in Europe for a change.
“In our first year we managed to get through to the last 16 and that was one which we will always remember as we lost to the then World No.1 pairing from Japan of Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi in the third round.
“Last time we lost first round against the German pairing Mark Lamsfuss and Marvin Seidel, so we have some decent experience to draw upon for Copenhagen.
“Hopefully that combined with what we have learned in Canada and the US over the last few weeks and all the other work we are putting in will allow us to go out there and cause an upset and go far in the draw.”