THE RISE OF KUNLAVUT VITIDSARN
Kunlavut Vitidsarn exhibited an appearance of remarkable composure even the night before the most important day of his professional life.
Despite the huge odds against him, Vitidsarn appeared confident after securing his spot in the final of the TotalEnergies BWF World Championships 2022 and anticipating a matchup with Viktor Axelsen the following day. The competition was being held in 2022.
He proclaimed, “I want to play Viktor Axelsen because he’s the best right now,” and he went on to explain why. “I want to pick his brain about how he manages to play so well at all of the tournaments. Because he is the clear front-runner, there is no pressure on me.”
Because of the consistent performances that the Thai has been producing over the course of the previous two years, it came as little surprise that the three-time world junior champion was in the running for the senior world title. His breakthrough season was the previous year, and he has proceeded to consolidate his gains throughout this season. Vitidsarn broke into the top 10 in the world rankings for the first time after his performance at the World Championships, where he won the silver medal.
Vitidsarn’s rise through the ranks of senior leadership has been lightning fast, much like that of his contemporaries Lakshya Sen; yet, even when he was still a junior, he gave the sense that he belonged at the highest level.
This assurance was apparent throughout the entire week of the World Championships, when he focused not on his upcoming opponents but rather on his own control of the conditions. By doing so, he was able to convey that, as long as he could make the necessary adjustments in the drift, he wasn’t overly troubled by what most opponents could throw at him.
This adaptability was displayed exceptionally well throughout the final. Vitidsarn was completely taken aback by Axelsen in the first game, but he collected himself and started the second game well, keeping the huge Dane on his toes with a patient and cunning combination of shots. At the point where the score was 11-10, he was in the driver’s seat, but Axelsen’s greater expertise and keener sense of opportunity ultimately ended the Thai’s chances of winning. The current number one in the world was taken aback.
Axelsen praised Vitidsarn by saying, “He’s a fantastic guy, and he’s powerful intellectually and physically.” “I knew it was going to be a challenging game. I am pleased with the manner in which I responded to his gameplan in the second round. He made it difficult for me, and I became a little more rigid as a result, but I was able to turn it around again.
“Both on and off the court, he exudes a laid-back and easygoing vibe. He is 21 years old, and we have competed against one another in multiple matches, as well as in other championship contests. I believe that there are many wonderful things on the horizon for him. In the future, I really hope that we can have a lot of successful matches.”
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