Not playing in an international competition for more than a year could lead to fears destined for the biggest sporting event on the planet – but not for Marcus Ellis.
The Huddersfield native, who took bronze in the men’s doubles at the Rio Olympics, will once again represent the GB team this time in mixed doubles.
The 31-year-old believes the lack of world championships over the past 18 months could play a role in his and partner Lauren Smith’s favour.
“For me, the most important thing is that it’s the same for everyone, especially in badminton,” he said.
We know that almost everyone could not play a competition against the foreign opposition.
“When we first came back to our first tournament, it was very strange, and for me, if that was the Olympics, I would have been really upset about that, because I didn’t feel like we did well.
“We know that some national teams like China, for example, will have their first international competition for a year and four months.
“For us, this is an open door because we don’t know what it will be like, and they don’t know what it will be like.
“The ranking I’ve seen before is from one to 20, I think we’re going to see some very different results this time across all disciplines just because of the pandemic.”
Ellis first took up badminton at Colin Valley Recreation Center in Slythwaite after his father John took so long and has been on a great trip ever since.
Joining men’s doubles partner Chris Langridge in 2014, the pair crowned the England National Championship and took gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, along with their Olympic medal.
This summer, the St. Albans resident will appear in mixed doubles, and Ellis has a unique relationship with Smith, his partner on and off the court.
The pair underwent closure together, which Ellis thinks was good for the pair:
“Throughout the lockdown, everyone struggled at some points and one thing Lorraine and I got is one completely mutual goal,” he said.
“When I wasn’t feeling well, Lauren could pick me up and push me in the right direction and back.
“I could have given her the motivation when she wasn’t feeling the same way as well. I think that was a very positive thing for us.
“I know the idea of spending 24/7 in the same house and then doing the same job, it sounds pretty intense, but it definitely worked so far.”
Recently, Smith and Ellis took the silver at the European Championships and despite the high-risk nature of their job, the couple rarely quarrels.
“I would say we are very good,” he said. “I can’t sit here and say we never argue because we do, but the worst thing is that it’s usually the most terrifying thing there is nothing dangerous at all.
“I can’t give you an example, but it’s something you might think of on the outside, so why on earth would you argue with that? But overall, we’re pretty good!”