Marcus Ellis succumbed to Yonex All England semi-final defeat but had a clear message - it’s all about the Olympics.
The Huddersfield-born player and mixed doubles partner Lauren Smith had been on a memorable run to the last four as they knocked out the world No.4 and No.10 pairings, but came unstuck against fifth seeds Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti to lose in three games.
But it’s been an impressive couple of months for the world No.12s, who stormed to Thailand Masters glory in January and duelled it out with some of the globe’s elite at Arena Birmingham this week.
And as they picked up valuable ranking points that all but sealed their seat on the plane to Tokyo, Ellis said the Games was what 2020 was really about.
The honour is all ours. What an unbelievable tournament for @ellis_marcus111 & @LaurenE_Smith. We’ve been through all the emotions with you - an inspiring week and an unforgettable demonstration of English badminton at its best.
You’ve done us all so immensely proud 🏴#YAE20 pic.twitter.com/pg2fY8gKfH
— Badminton England (@BadmintonEnglnd) March 14, 2020
“The last year we can both honestly say the Olympics have been at the back of our minds, but I think everyone is the same,” he said.
“If they’re being perfectly honest it’s all it’s about, this year - this has been a fantastic week and hopefully a really big boost to our ranking, but we’ll see what lies around the corner, because there’s a lot of uncertainty coming our way in the next month or two.
“We were obviously trying our best but we just didn’t get things right today - there were spots in the game where we did get things right, but they’re one of those pairs where if you don’t get it right they can really just steamroll you.
“That’s what happened to us in parts, especially in that third set.
“But that’s why they’re ranked wherever they’re ranked in the world - they’ve won so many Super Series events this year and that is why.”
— 🏆 Yonex All England Badminton Championships 🏆 (@YonexAllEngland) March 14, 2020
Ellis and Smith went behind as Jordan and Oktavianti took the first game 21-15, before brilliantly levelling in the second after coming from behind to clinch a 23-21 triumph.
But it wasn’t to be in the decider, as the Indonesian duo showed exactly why they are current French and Denmark Open champions with a polished 21-11 win.
And while Jordan was booked for slow play in the first game - prompting complaints from Ellis - the 2016 Olympic bronze medallist said his antics had nothing to do with the end result.
“I think he was just trying to be a little bit cheeky and slow the game down,” he added.
“It’s just how they want to play, and we get so frustrated about it because we want it to be a good game.
“But everyone know he’s one of the most dangerous players from the rear court - he’s got unbelievable power and unbelievable skill.”
Witness Legends Begin at the 2020 Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships at Arena Birmingham between March 11-15. Secure your tickets at https://www.allenglandbadminton.com/today.