With pure courage and a young spirit,
she played badminton with no boundaries.
A girl that moves on the court effortlessly,
without baggage and limits, but brave and dashing.
VICTOR : How do you feel about winning the championship of 2 Open Games?
Tai Tzu Ying : Of course I am happy about winning the games, but every game is equally important and it is the result of training. Therefore, what I really care about is not winning, but my overall performance, and whether I have shown my true strengths or if I have improved.
VICTOR : When was the first time you played badminton? Under what circumstances? How old were you when you played your first game?
Tai Tzu Ying : My first official game was in my elementary grades. Because my parents used to play every morning at the gym, my sister and I started playing with them when we were in kindergarten and we developed an interests in the game and began training seriously.
VICTOR : What influences did your parents have on your playing badminton? What role did they play?
Tai Tzu Ying : My parents aroused my interest in badminton and they have supported me fully.
My mom always takes care of every little thing in my life so I can focus entirely on training. Regardless of whether I reached a bottleneck during training or lost a game, my dad encourages me all the way and guides me to build up my confidence.
VICTOR : To represent the country in the 2012 London grand sporting event , what does it mean to you?
Tai Tzu Ying : To attend the event is always a goal and plan I have for my athletic career. When I was sure I can participate, I was not super excited or nervous, but I just hope I can perform to my utmost strength and win the greatest honor on an international stage.
VICTOR : The Taipei Opens was an intense game? but you won at the end. What was the key factor to your success and strategy?
Tai Tzu Ying : I have actually not thought of strategies at all!
I injured my knee in the beginning, so it slightly affected my movements and I had made some mistakes. It was a tough game.
But during the course of the game, I did not place my thoughts on the score, I just focused on managing each swing and I believe this focus helped me to win the game in the end even though the scores were not on my side.
Of course, the encouragements from passionate fans and my parents gave me confidence and great determination.
VICTOR : Everyone calls you Girl Genius, complimenting your unpredictable plays. How would you describe your plays?
Tai Tzu Ying : I do not direct myself to follow a certain play or style, I only follow my coach’s instructions to train more to perfect my every move and increase my speed.
When I get on the court, I focus on the present and make appropriate reactions to each swing so I can play to my strengths.
VICTOR : Which racket do you prefer personally?
Tai Tzu Ying : In the choice of rackets, I value smoothness. I use the less flexible, narrow square head rackets most often because I like my smash to be powerful and my racket to be bright and shiny.
VICTOR : Since there are so many kinds of rackets out there, do you have any tips for beginners when choosing a suitable racket?
Tai Tzu Ying : You can choose a suitable racket first based on the style that you like, then actually take a grip, take a swing, to feel how the racket feels in your hand.
If the racket feels good when you grip and swing and the style is good, then it is a racket suitable for you.
VICTOR : Before you get on the court, you would double-check the firmness of your footwear. What kind of footwear is suitable for you?
Tai Tzu Ying : A suitable badminton footwear is very important for me. Often on the court, you need to change direction and pace. When I face an international opponent, I only have a fraction of reaction time, so I demand more on coverage from the badminton footwear.
VICTOR : Do you have any small habits that you do for yourself?
Tai Tzu Ying : When I am about to go on the court, I will first locate my parents, greet the fans and empty my thoughts. I do not evaluate my opponent, don't think about my strategies, and don’t think about winning. I just focus on my warm-ups, wake up my muscles and adjust myself to the best state for the upcoming game.
VICTOR : Except for the daily training, what is your special secret on maintaining the best health state with your food and daily schedules?
Tai Tzu Ying : When I am in Kaohsiung, I like to eat rice balls for breakfast. As for lunch and dinner, I enjoy my mom’s cooking and I also enjoy a local snack of Kaohsiung. I have no taboos when it comes to food. I would buy some snacks at the dorm and eat them while listening to my favorite music for relaxation. In comparison with food, I value adequate sleep and rest more. Usually I sleep by 12 at night and wake up around 7 to start my day.
VICTOR : What is your favorite leisure activity other than badminton?
Tai Tzu Ying : My studies and training are the focus of my life. Right now, I do not have extra time to discover other activities other than badminton, but listening to music is one way for me to relax.
VICTOR : Is there any burden for your becoming a world-class player in badminton at such a young age?
Tai Tzu Ying : There are not a lot of troubles for me in life, but sometimes I envy my classmates and friends who can watch movies and shop freely while I study or train all the time.
But when I perform well in a game and I see how I have improved because of my training, I believe that this sacrifice is all worth it.
VICTOR : What kind of characteristic do you think an excellent sportsman should have? Is there one sportsman whom you admire and possess such characteristic?
Tai Tzu Ying : I believe that an excellent sportsman is able to demonstrate professionalism, focus and perform to his or her best. Other than that, I believe that most sportsmen should have their own personalities, to be themselves and at the same time, feel comfortable and coexist peacefully around their teammates, coach, family and friends.
For me, the Danish badminton player, Peter Gade, is the one I admire most. He has won the first place in the men’s single games for many years. aside from his fast steps and mighty backhand swings, changeable drop shooting and powerful swing, I admire his athletic spirit and open-mindedness the most.
VICTOR : For other children who like badminton as much as you do, what suggestions and encouragements do you have for them?
Tai Tzu Ying : For elementary school children, I would encourage them to enjoy the sport without giving themselves too much pressure and just play for the simple pleasures.
For those in middle school, I would like to tell them that badminton is a very attractive sport, but just like anything, if you hope to excel in anything, you must be prepared for extensive hard work and sacrifice. Perhaps it would be giving up your leisure time; perhaps it would be the muscle pain from long-term training, but no pain, no gain.