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Malkov will try and not think about Olympics, but focus on improving his game (Photo: Badminton Photo)
Vladimir Malkov: the level I can really play
Date: 11/15/2019 2:06 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
Vladimir Malkov has been a strong and reliable servant for Russian badminton. The now thirty-three year old first tasted success for Russia when being a part of the generation of young players who medalled at 2005 European Junior Badminton Championships. This turned out to be a ‘golden generation’ with the likes of Vladimir Ivanov and Nina Vislova.
 
It became a generation of firsts, with Vislova becoming the first Russian Olympic medalist in badminton when winning bronze in London 2012. Ivanov became champion at the 2014 European Championships and won the 2016 All England Open, the first Russian player to win the men's doubles title.

Malkov has also built on his junior success with twelve career titles, a silver and two bronze medals at the European Mixed Team Championships. The most recent one being earlier this year in Copenhagen, where the Russian team lost out 3-1 to Germany in the semi-final, with Malkov picking up their only win. Malkov also has the unique claim to have won a title in men’s singles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles. 

In an exclusive interview, we spoke to Malkov about his form, training, opponents and future goals.

Show the level I can really play
Malkov has had some great results this year. A semifinal in both the Azerbaijan and Maldives International, as well as a quarterfinal at the European Games. We asked what he feels about his game? 

-I have had a nice time in May since I’ve practice in China and showed some good results. But unfortunately, I’ve kept this level just for a few tournaments. I don't want to explain reasons why, because it looks like excuses. Though I feel I am back to normal practice after coming to Centre of Excellence. I am glad I found a place in Europe that I can practice full time and enjoy the process.

Last time we spoke, Malkov was moving to China for training at Kawasaki. We asked how that has that been going?

-I’m still keeping in contact with China, but due to a lot of tournaments in Europe I haven't had a chance go there. I’ve practiced at the Centre of Excellence in Holbaek since I arrived back from Dubai.

Looking at key moments this year, we ask if there is one performance that stands out? Perhaps beating Victor Svendsen in Maldives was a big result. What did he learn from the experience and take away as areas to develop?

-I know how to play but sometimes my preparation is not good enough to show the level I can really play. I hope I can play my best during upcoming tournaments.

Olympics will again come into my life
A young player who is causing some excitement is triple World Junior champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn from Thailand. Malkov got to play him in Dubai. As an experienced player, we asked what he thought when on court against him?

-He is a good player and I’m not thinking so much, I just played my match. It wasn't surprising that a young Asian player can compete at a high level. Nobody is surprised by that fact now. 

Lastly, as we move closer to Tokyo 2020, Sergey Sirant, Russia’s number two men’s singles player is currently not too far behind in the rankings. We ask how he sees the Russian men's singles road to Tokyo looking like and if there is added pressure this time

-I’m trying not to think too much about the Olympics. It is more important to increase my level and ranking through high quality matches. That's my aim for the hard work and it is really a related thing. Because if I’m able to reach a higher level and keep that form, Olympics will again come into my life.

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