Nguyen Tien Minh meets the world number three Anders Antonsen (Denmark), in the opening match of Group L badminton at the 2020 Olympic Games. The match starts at 6pm.

  • Tien Minh is optimistic

    “With my age now, meeting any opponent is no longer important,” the 38-year-old tennis player shared with VnExpress. “The main thing is how to have good health, play to the best of your ability and take advantage of the experience in the previous Olympics. Only then can you hope to have a ticket to continue.”

    “I am very honored to represent Vietnam’s badminton for the fourth time at an Olympic Games,” Tien Minh added. “Last time, due to the epidemic, the training conditions were very difficult, but I always tried to improve my fitness. I feel very energetic and hope to have the most successful Olympics in my career, left a lot of impressions with the fans”

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Nguyen Tien Minh, 38 years old, represents Vietnam’s men’s badminton at the 2021 Olympics as the oldest tennis player. Tien Minh ranked 32nd on the Road to Tokyo rankings, having just qualified to win tickets to the Olympics and for the fourth time in a row.

The Tokyo Olympic badminton men’s singles event has 42 players, divided into 14 groups. Only the group winners will advance to the knockout round. Tien Minh is in the same group with L with Azerbaijani-Indonesian tennis player Ade Resky Dwicahyo, and world number three Anders Antonsen.

Tien Minh has never passed the first round in the Olympics. In 2008, he lost to Taiwan’s number one Hsieh Yu-hsing (Ta Du Hung) with a score of 1-2 in the round of 32, and soon left Beijing. Four years later in London, Tien Minh attended the tournament as the seed of the group. He won against Belgian player Yuhan Tan, but lost to Indian opponent Parupalli Kashyap two blank games and left the tournament. In the 2016 Rio group stage, Tien Minh won two matches, but lost to Lin Dan who was superior in terms of level.

At the age of 38, the Tokyo Olympics could be Tien Minh's last Olympics.

At the age of 38, the Tokyo Olympics could be Tien Minh’s last Olympics.

Anders Antonsen is currently ranked third in the world, but this Olympics is the first time the Danish tennis player has participated in the Olympics. Before competing against Nguyen Tien Minh, the 24-year-old star once defeated the current number one and number two in the world, Kento Momota and Viktor Axelsen.

In two finals this year, Antonsen defeated compatriot Axelsen to win the World Tour Finals, before winning Europe for the first time in May.

Antonsen is forecasted to not be difficult to top Group L. If he passes the group stage, Antonsen is also not afraid to meet the most likely player of Group K, Kantaphon Wangcharoen (Thailand), to recreate the semi-finals of the World Championship 2019.

Antonsen won two tournaments in 2021. Photo: Reuters

Antonsen won two tournaments in 2021. Photo: Reuters

The two tennis players have met once, at the 2018 world championships in Nanjing. The Vietnamese representative lost after two sets with the score 18-21, 16-21. Antonsen has improved a lot since then, rising from 16th place to world number three. And Tien Minh attended two international tournaments in 2020 including the Australian Open and the Thailand Masters, both eliminated in the first match.

The last time Tien Minh met a top 10 player was in the 2019 Asian semi-finals, before world number one Kento Momota. Tien Minh lost 18-21, 8-21.

Nhan Dat – Quang Dung

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