World number one Chen Long has said that he is feeling calm as he looks to retain his title at the World Superseries Finals in Dubai this week.
Long established himself as the man to beat after claiming seven titles, which included a successful campaign at the World Championships. However, at the China and Hong Kong Opens, the Chinese maestro was beaten by Malaysian shuttler Lee Chong Wei.
However, with Chong Wei having failed to qualify for the World Superseries Final and with Long’s compatriot Lin Dan having withdrawn due an injury, the world number one is expected to clinch his eighth title of the year.
In order to remain focused and not succumb to the pressure, Long has revealed that he doesn’t think about winning or being champion.
“I have learned to deal with the pressure and relax,” he told reporters. “I don't think about being a champion – I just put my heart into the game I love.”
Long has been grouped with compatriot Tian Houwei, Hong Kong’s Hu Yun and world number two Jan O Jorgensen from Denmark.
While he is expected to have little trouble defending his title, Long has said that he views every shuttler who is participating in the event as a threat.
“There is no good draw to be had in an event like this,” he said. “All eight players are great and you have to do well from the start.
“And I don’t think about being defending champion. This is the perfect tournament with a fantastic atmosphere last year, and I expect this year too, and I want to enjoy it.”