KUALA LUMPUR: The mystery surrounding the “sudden disappearance” of Zulfadli Zulkiffli was finally solved, when the shuttler came out to clarify that he has been taking a break from badminton since picking up an injury.
Zulfadli explained that he had been advised by the doctor to take a complete rest for six to eight months, after suffering from a right ankle injury at the Macau Open last November.
Earlier, his “sudden disappearance” raised a lot of questions, and matters escalated when both Zulfadli and is father (Zulkiffli Sidek) could not be reached for enquiries.
“I picked up the injury in the quarter-finals of the Macau Open last year. I have since been resting and undergoing rehabilitation. Two weeks before the Thailand Masters, I felt pain again but this time in a different area.
“So immediately after the Thailand Masters, I decided to withdraw from three tournaments — Malaysia Masters, Indonesia Masters as well as India Open and Purple League.
“My doctor advised me to rest for at least six months or risk worsening my injury.
“Due to that, I am now uncertain of my plans this year. In fact, I did not register myself for the All England in March. I just hope to recover,” said Zulfadli, who showed up today to support his younger brother Zulhelmi who was competing in the Higher Education Ministry Games (SUKIPT) at Uptown Sports.
On his targets this year, Zulfadli said he hoped to win a higher tier trophy (Level Four and above), which would boost his world ranking.
“I’ve won two GP titles before, but I hope to go a notch higher. Only then, will I be able to improve on my ranking.
“I don’t know if I will make the cut for the Thomas Cup squad or even the Asian Games, but anything can happen. My priority now is to recover fully as there is a lot at stake this year,” added the former world junior champion (2011).
Ranked No 57 in the world, Zulfadli is currently fifth on the Malaysian men’s singles pecking order behind former World No 1 Lee Chong Wei (2), Liew Daren (41), Chong Wei Feng (46) and Lee Zii Jia (47).