Written by Mag
Thursday, 10 June 2004
So, due to public demand, here is a transcript/translation of the Gade live chat last week. Or rather, it is an edited transcript: it was quite long, so took the liberty of leaving out the daftest or least relevant questions. A lot of questions were in Danish, but questions that were originally asked and answered in English have been included here -- if I found them interesting enough. As always in these situations, the most interesting questions were never answered...
Anyway, here goes:
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A: Hard to say now, but I am already working on some ideas and projects that probably will be launched while I am still actively playing badminton. But hopefully I will have a job where I can work with the things I like.
Q: Do you get very nervous just before an important match? If so, how you handle this...?
A: The most important thing for me, before a big match, is to remember what i like so much about badminton - if I can get that good feeling, then im playing at my best. But sometimes it?s good to be a little nervous - these are the situations you'll remember when you look back on your career.
Q: For a relatively small country, Denmark has managed to produce one world class player after another. Having been through the process -- what is the key to the success?
A: I think it's a matter of tradition. We have had good coaches and good players to look up to - that means something when you?re young. Also the system in Denmark has been good.
Q: Which was your betch match ever?
A: Probably the 2000 Thomas Cup semifinal against Hendrawan.
Q: Have you ever considered moving abroad?
A: Yes, but i have always made my mind up about staying in Denmark - i like being around my friends and family.
Q: If this comeback fails and you get injured again, will that end your career?
A: I don?t know. At the moment I believe to a 100% that I will recover.
Q: Becoming a famous badminton player, was there any change in your life?
A: It?s obvious, that when people start to know about you, you?ll have to change some things, but for me it's been a natural development trough the last 5 years- but especially the last 2 years has meant a few changes. But you have to keep doing most of the things you?ve always done and I do.
Q: I know you football, have you ever thought of playing football instead of badminton?
A: Yes, when i was little, football was bigger for me than badminton, but as you know it changed during the years. Since i stopped playing football, I have missed it.
Q: Are you following a special diet, or can you pretty much eat what you want?
A: I eat normal food, but during tournaments I stick to certain things, such as rice, pasta, vegetables and fuits. I drink both water, juices, sport drinks and sodas.
Q: Which is your most important win?
A: That would be winning over Hendrawan in the 2000 Thomas Cup. To bring my own country to a lead over Indonesia in that fashion is something I will never forget.
Q: You have one of the hardest string tensions in the sport. What are the benefits?
A: My precision and power increases. I feel comfortable with high tensions.
Q: Do you play tennis?
A: I can certainly enjoy it, but I usually only have time to do it maybe once or twice during summer.
Q: Do you have any ideas on how to make badminton more popular in the US?
A: We need some good players in USA and Canada - that would be very good for the sport.
Q: Who is your favourite player?
A: I have a lot of respect for players like Sun Jun, Heryanto Arbi and Hendrawan.
Q: When did you start playing badminton?
A: At the age of 6.
Q: Which country is your favourite to visit?
A: I have been 10 times in Malaysia, and I always enjoy coming back there.
Q: At your level, when you receive good advice from the coach during games, how much use is that? Or is it just pep-talk?
A: Having played at a high level during a number of years under a number of different coaches., one learns to take the best from them all. Now I have probably reached the point where I am mainly my own coach. But the coach is extremely important when it comes to motivation.
Q: What is your future in your club, GBK?
A: I view GBK as my home club and I can?t see myself playing anywhere else. But the future doesn?t look so good, as GBK doesn?t have the same financial means at the other clubs in the elite division. I am helping out a lot with the junior activities, and there the club is doing great.
Q: Were you always a good player, even as a child?
A: I have been top 3 all my career.
Q: Do you work actively with mental training? Do you have your own sports psychologist? Do you employ so-called "motivation tapes" or similar methods?
A: Mental training is a very important part of being a professional badminton player, and something that all players should make use of.
Q: Since Forza is a Danish brand, have you ever played with it? If so, how did you like it?
A: I used to play with Forza a few years ago when I was younger. It's a good brand.
Q: Are you coming to Canada anytime soon?
A: I hope so - I have never been in Canada, but I?ve heard many great things about it.
Q: When playing in Asia, isn?t it hard to get used to the fast shuttles (due to the heat)?
A: Not for me, I like playing with fast shuttles. The problem in Denmark is that we usually play with too slow shuttles. Young players adjust to that, so they run into trouble when they play in Asia.
Q: Do you have any advice to young players nowadays?
A: Yes: badminton is a great sport, which develops your skills in many areas, both on the court and off. But it?s hard work and if you can do it with a smile and enjoy it - then it?s really good.
Q: What are the biggest tournaments for you?
A: It must e Olympics, World Championships and the Thomas Cup Finals.
Q: What is your motto before starting a singles match?
A: Go out there and do two things: play with all your heart and enjoy it!
Q: What is your favourite point system, 3x15, 5x7 or maybe 5x9?
A: My opinion is that 5x9 is the best solution. It would be a shame to go back to 3x15.
Q: What is the biggest difference between Men's singles and Women's?
A: Mainly strength and physique.
Q: Do you still use the Slim-10?
A: Yes, I still ues the Slim-10, but I am trying a lot of different racquets out to find a new one for me.
Q: How much did you practise when you were 15?
A: I think I practised about 12-14 hours per week.
Q: Can Yonex control your choice of equipment?
A: We have a good cooperation around most of the products.
Q: How important were the trainers and coaches around you when you were about 16?
A: When you're 16 your coach and parents are the most important persons in your life. They can motivate you to do the things that make you happy.
Q: What trick shot is your favourite?
A: That must be the one I made recently in the Cirkus arena (Note: that would be the match point against Gopichand in the Danish Open finals.)
Q: When you practised 12-15 hours weekly, didn't you get problems at school?
A: No, but when I got older I had to choose some subjects to focus on. The school was very important for my parents and I was good in school. It took some time before they accepted that badminton was what I wanted.
Q: Don't you ever get tired of being the best and living up to people?s expectations on and off the court?
A: That?s part of the challenge - I don't think much about that, but I accept that I have a responsibility to a lot of young people.
Q: How many push-ups can you take without stopping?
A: I would say 50-60.
Q: Who will win the Thomas Cup this year?
A: I think that Korea and China must be the favourites. But Indonesia will always be well prepared.
Q: Can you see yourself as a national badminton coach?
A: Not while the Danish Badminton Association works like it does now.
Q: I heard that you played with a soft-ball in your room?
A: That's right - I played with plastic table tennis bat and a small soft ball. I played against a wall or a door for 2-3 hours a day.
Q: What keeps you going on the bad days?
A: Life is great - it's a gift - we HAVE to enjoy it while we can - but I have bad days too... :-)
Q: What three things would you bring to a desert island?
A: A good friend (or girlfriend), music, and a football.
Q: Did you ever regret choosing to play professional badminton instead of a more academic career?
A: Never! I love my life and I am enjoying it more than ever.