Dominant world number one Viktor Axelsen withdrew from badminton’s Malaysia Masters starting Tuesday, saying he needed to “rest and recharge” after winning the Malaysia Open, Indonesia Open and Indonesia Masters in the past month.
“I would have loved to compete again here in Kuala Lumpur this week, and then (next week’s) Singapore Open,” Axelsen posted on social media late on Monday.
“However when I woke up this morning, my body and head were telling me that it’s time to rest and recharge before I step on the court again.
“I need some days off to rest, celebrate my recent wins with my family and then build up towards new goals,” added the Dane, who is on a remarkable 32-match unbeaten run that has seen him sweep to three consecutive titles on the Badminton World Federation tour.
Olympic champion Axelsen outplayed Japan’s former number one Kento Momota to win the Malaysia Open on Sunday, needing only 34 minutes to sweep to a 21-4, 21-7 victory.
It was Axelsen’s fifth title of the season after already claiming the All England Open, European Championships and Indonesia Open and Masters titles.
Malaysian fifth seed Lee Zii Jia also pulled out of the men’s singles on the eve of the tournamant in Kuala Lumpur, as did former Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain in the women’s singles.
Ireland’s world number 40 Nhat Nguyen replaces Axelsen at the top of the men’s singles draw.
Second seed Momota’s scheduled first-round opponent, world number 12 Rasmus Gemke of Denmark, also withdrew and has been replaced by Japan’s 46th-ranked Koki Watanabe