Keeping My Fingers Crossed, Viktor Axelsen Calls BWF's New Tournament Calendar 'Extremely Ambitious Plan'

Viktor Axelsen is keeping his head down and practicing hard for badminton to resume after the coronavirus pandemic forced the world to stop and for the Tokyo Olympics.

Even though "it's a real shame that the games had to be postponed", Axelsen says "it was the right thing to postpone the event, the crisis is far from over and there was no other option available."

"At this point I'm just using all my energy to prepare for the 2021 Olympics. There's still a year to go for the games and there will be a number of tournaments before the showpiece event. Currently I am working on getting back into shape, so that i'm ready for tournaments when things get up and running." Axelsen told in an interview to WION.

Axerlson says that it will be "huge challenge for everyone" when badminton returns, but the Danish world no.3 feels "it is an extremely ambitious plan" to have "22 tournaments have been planned in such a short span of time."

Badminton World Federation's (BWF) announced a revamped calendar with over 20 tournaments being scheduled to take place between September and December, with many of which having already been cancelled since.

"The players will have to be very cautious since the risk of getting injured will be high. I hope players put a lot of thought before planning their schedule, because playing too many back-to-back tournaments is really tough on the body. I don't know what the right thing to do is but I know that I have to be very careful with my body," he said.

Axelsen said that he understands the financial implications for BWF due to the freeze on the badminton calendar but hopes that rules are in place for the players to be able to make a choice on whether they want to play the matches or not.

"It is going to be very tough for the players. In this situation, there are no right or wrong answers. I realise that 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 the priority, if players play 10 tournaments in 12 weeks then their health will be put in danger. So it is really important that the players are protected in this situation," he said.

Axelsen also said that athletes won't be able to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival to any country or when they return home, "because of the packed calendar we have".

"We have to wait and see what happens, I'm just keeping my fingers crossed."

When asked how it will be to play without fans, Axlesen feels it may feel "a bit like a practice session".

"It's going to be a completely different experience. I haven't played a tournament without fans in a very long time. it might feel a bit like a practice session. The fans create an atmosphere which is really special. it is going to be disappointing to play without spectators but it's better than not playing at all," he said.