The Badminton World Federation's decision to conduct a large chunk of tournaments in a short span of time has garnered criticism from shuttlers across the world. Nineteen tournaments will be held in four months, beginning with the Taipei Open in September.
Calling it an extremely ambitious plan, the World No 4 Viktor Axelsen also voiced his concern over the packed schedule. "The players will have to be very cautious since the risk of getting injured will be high," Axelsen told WION. "I hope players put a lot of thought before planning their schedule because playing too many back-to-back tournaments is tough on the body. I don't know if it was the right thing to do. But I know that I have to be very careful with my body."
The Dane hopes that the health of the shuttlers is not compromised and they are not forced to compete in all the tournaments in search of points.
"In this situation, there are no right or wrong answers. The shutdown has a lot of financial implications for the BWF and they need to get the money pumping in again. I just hope there are rules in place so that players are not pushed to play all tournaments. The athletes' health should be a priority. If shuttlers play 10 tournaments in 12 weeks, then their health will be put in danger. The players must be protected in this situation," the 26-year-old shared.
Travel restrictions and quarantine laws, which might differ from one country to another, are also the factors to be considered. Though international travel restrictions are expected to be relaxed in a few months, the former World No 1 feels it is not possible for players to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival to any country or when they return because of events being scheduled back-to-back.
"Hopefully, by September, some of the international travel restrictions will be relaxed. If that isn't the case then it's going to be very difficult for players to travel for events all over the world. We have to wait and see what happens. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed," added Axelsen.
Unlike many who are affected by the coronavirus-enforced lockdown, players like Axelsen have been able to practice in Denmark with the situation improving considerably. Of the 11,000 positive cases, 10,000 have recovered in the country. He feels Danish players will have a bit of headstart in terms of preparation.
"We have been fortunate here in Denmark. We started practice about one and a half months ago. However, we are not training at full throttle. Usually, we only have a few weeks to prepare before the season begins, but in this case, we have had much more time. So the training regime is also different."