Denmark’s loss to Indonesia in the Thomas Cup semifinals on Saturday was a tough one to swallow for the home favourites, for the Danes were widely expected to feature in the title round. Denmark head coach Kenneth Jonassen talks about the pivotal second singles that turned the tie Indonesia’s way and his admiration of how well the Indonesians handled the pressure.
Your immediate thoughts on the loss to Indonesia?
I think the doubles of Indonesia showed its strength. We knew there were a few crucial games we had to win, because we know the strength of Indonesian doubles and they showed it. We are tremendously proud of our guys for dealing with the pressure of playing on home soil, the expectations of doing well but also impressed by how each of the Indonesian players handled the crowd cheering for us, so my hats off to them for a great performance.
Anders Antonsen’s was perhaps the pivotal match. Looking back, where do you think it turned?
(It turned on) Very small details. Winning the right rally at the right time could have set him (on to victory)… I think he had a few leads at the start of the third game which potentially could have kept us on, but at the end of the day you can’t ask anything more of players than giving everything on court, and he did, there was nothing left. So again, I take my hat off to Jonatan Christie for staying in there and delivering the point to Indonesia. We had a few chances, but Anders gave it all.
What were you telling him during the match?
The main thing was to keep believing, trust you’re strong enough to carry on, and not to let emotions get the best of you. With the crowd cheering you on it’s easy to get seduced and just follow your instinct all the time; sometimes it’s good to follow your instinct, but overall throughout the full match you have to be focussed and stable in your gameplan. Mainly, keep believing in yourself and see the opportunities happening even though he was under tremendous physical pressure throughout because it was a physical match. It always is when you play Jonatan, he’s a very strong player and it was neck and neck all the way.
What positives do you take from this campaign?
When the disappointment settles a bit I’m going to be proud of how we performed throughout the week. Not just the boys but also the girls. As I talked to both of the teams, for such a big event we have to learn to play at home, how to deal with the expectations and so on, and I can only say I felt we did that really well. We just lost to better opponents, but I also give a little bit of faith for the future. In women’s team we have a young setup. The boys, we are working on a generation change, but we can still say we battled against the best. Today we lost but we are competitive and if you give us a chance, we’ll come back.