(Photo: Badmintonphoto)
Mathias Boe: “One last dance”
Date: 11/4/2021 4:44 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
Mathias Boe returned to the court at the Hylo Open 2021. This time partnering his good friend, Michael Sarfelt. It was all done for a good cause and we ask how much does it cost to play with a legend? Read to find out more.

With news that Mathias Boe, the legendary Danish doubles player who retired in early 2020, was to return to the court, there was naturally a lot of attention on it. Especially as it was not an official return, but a unique outing with his good friend, a non-professional, for a charitable donation. 

Boe/ Sarfeldt took on the talented up and coming English pair Callum Hemming/ Steven Stallwood. The score was 21-6, 21-17 to their opponents, but the result did not matter. 

-Yeah, it was actually very fun. I posted on my Instagram earlier today that it was ‘one last dance’. At least in these professional tournaments. I have enjoyed some super fun days with Michael here. Actually, I think the match went better than I had thought. I played okay myself. I haven't played that much, only been on court a few times in the last three months, so I was a little anxious about my level but it turned out to be a good match, Boe explained with a wide grin. 

-The lads [Hemming/ Stallwood] were also a little bit kind to us. We had some good rallies, so it was it was really good fun indeed. They gave a lot of respect to us both. 

Playing with a legend
It is every fan's dream to play with a legend. Today, Sarfeldt a businessman with a humble badminton background played with former world number one and Olympic silver medallist from 2012. Here is what he said about the experience.

-Mathias for Danish people is a legend, so it's a great honour to play with him and luckily I’ve grown a good friendship with him and we've had a lot of fun both on and off court over the last couple of weeks. It was a pleasure to play the tournament and it was a dream coming true to take part in this tournament with all these amazing professional players from around the world, so for me it has been a dream come true and I'm super excited and happy for the experience.

How were the nerves?
-Actually for me it's pretty strange because in my profession I do public speaking in front of thousands of people and normally before events I’m never nervous at all, it's just another day at the office, but today in the practice hall before the game started I was warming up with Mathias and some of the greatest players from around the world next to me, I could feel the nerves, Sarfeldt admitted. 

-When you do the first clear trying to not miss the shuttle, I felt the nerves but after two or three rallies it disappeared, and it was just game on, he added. 

Their philosophy was to go out and just have fun, and they certainly did that. 

The reason Mathias Boe stepped back onto court was due to a charity called Nanhi Kali he sponsors with his partner, Bollywood superstar Taapsee Pannu. The charity aims to support young girls in rural India. 

-We joined the charity supporting schooling and after-schooling for young girls. Every year we aim to support 100 girls, so we have our own 100 girls, of course, it's very meaningful for me to give something back while I didn't have much time the last 20 years while playing professionally. Some people around the world they need help and I’m just happy that I can do my small part with Michael. I’m very grateful to him and his family who wanted to support this, Boe explained. 

Boe expressed his delight to be back at a tournament he has won three times previously and Sarfeldt did not hesitate at the opportunity to fulfil one of his dreams when Boe posed the question. 

-Basically, it started with us being at the 50th wedding anniversary of my parents in Monaco a couple of months ago. We were discussing going out and playing the next day but unfortunately we were not able to find a court after a couple of hours of trying and then that night we talked about the opportunity to support the charity and for me and my family it's something that we do anyway and it was a great pleasure to be able to take part, so donating the money was something that was never in question. The bonus of being able to play with Mathias was just the cherry on top, Sarfeldt confirmed.

How much?
The most important focus for both these men is the many young underprivileged girls the donation will help. However, in a probing question, when asked how much does a match with Mathias Boe cost? Boe laughed and replied.

-Yeah, I know there's no point in disclosing the amount. It was a very generous amount that Michael and his family donated, so it will help our girls a lot and we're grateful about that.

Sarfeldt interjected and joked.

-But if anyone pays 10 million, you can do it!

Just a one-off?
Tapsee Pannu on Instagram wrote that ‘we can auction you out in the future’, referring to Boe. So, we put it to Boe that perhaps this is not a one-off?

-The option was there on the table because the world ranking has been frozen, so I still keep my world ranking position. I think that is over soon so of course I will drop down and it will not be possible to enter these tournaments. Continuing doing it may be a bad signal to the sport that we are traveling around like two circus clowns, Boe stated. 

-However, senior tournaments plus 40 or plus 35, I would never say never, Boe said leaving the door open to another return to court, albeit at a different level. 

Perfect promotional platform for a crazy idea
While it was certainly entertaining and very different to see this on our screens, the two were asked why they chose this way of promoting the charity.

-I'm one of the few people who is actually able to give a person like Michael something that is very unique so that's why it's an idea my brother got a few years back, that you could auction me away to play a tournament to give a person a once in a lifetime experience. Michael has so much love for the sport I just knew that this was the guy to go to and that he would most likely say yes to this crazy idea. 

The response
-I don't really like when you're a public person there is somebody who likes you and some who don't like you - it's a part of the game. I think people have seen it as a fun idea, of course, critics from the sport might have asked are these guys serious or what, but I know that I have my heart in the right place and can give something back, Boe stated. 

On the reaction in India, Boe added.

-I don't know if the news has reached India, but it takes that my girlfriend tweets then the entire of India knows but so far I think that they see it as a big gesture to do this and I think that most people understand it and whoever doesn't understand it, I’m okay with that as it's for a good cause. 

Boe’s new ventures
The legacy that Mathias Boe has left behind is certainly of legendary status. Since then he moved into a coaching role with India and now this charity promotion, how does Boe want his next chapter to look like?

-Right now, I’m actually enjoying having an easy life. I still travel a lot even though it's been a little bit difficult with the pandemic and all. I’m a little bit back and forth from Europe and Dubai where I live and to India where my girlfriend is, so I’m city hopping a little bit and enjoying that. I am still trying to stay fit. I drink a little bit more wine than I’ve done the last 20 years, I party a little bit more, so yeah, I mean I enjoy life, I’m not super busy. I have property investment, I have stock podcasts and investments, so I keep myself busy with these small projects. I love to play paddle tennis and I will start to play a little bit of badminton again, so in that way I keep myself busy and I enjoy an easy and not so like strict life after my long career. 

For more information about the charity Mathias Boe and Michael Sarfelt supported click here - Nanhi Kali

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