Wednesday March 6, 2013
Jonassen aims to end his stint in England on a high note
FORMER international Kenneth Jonassen will be returning to his roots – Denmark – but not before ensuring England succeed in two majors – the ongoing All-England and the World Championships in Guangzhou in August.
“Yes, I’ll be leaving England. I’ll end my stint here in another six months ... it’ll complete my three-year service with England,” said the lanky 38-year-old Jonassen.
“I’ll be going back to Denmark for more than one good reason. Firstly, it’s family commitments. Secondly, I’ve been offered a job that I cannot refuse – as the assistant head coach (to Lars Uhre) ... with the majority of work focusing on the men’s singles.”
The 2008 European champion described his experience in England as “educational”.
“So far, it’s been very educational and I’ve enjoyed all the challenges. I just can’t wait to finish it off on a high at the world meet,” he said.
“The results in world meet will be important as this is how our funding works.
“We’ve even decided to skip this year’s Sudirman Cup (in Kuala Lumpur in May) to fully focus on the world meet. To have two tournaments in Asia – Sudirman and World Championships – will take its toll on the players. Our focus is to peak at the world meet.”
With Jonassen as head coach, England nailed a silver medal at the 2011 World Championships in the mixed doubles through Chris Adcock-Imogen Bankier.
“Some other good moments for me as a head coach will be the personal performances of the players, like Rajiv Ouseph beating Peter-Gade Christensen of Denmark and Taufik Hidayat for the first time,” he said.
“I’m happy that I’ve also set up a system that’ll help build up world class players in the future.”
Asked about his target at the world meet, Jonassen was modest and realistic: “We don’t have any players in top 10 and some of them have left the national team ... it’s unrealistic to set them targets of winning titles.
“We want them to reach the quarter-finals and beat the higher-ranked players. Every top player will be in peak form at the world meet and a win against anyone of them will be a success for the players, me and team England.
“That’s the same goal we have for the players here at the All-England,” added Jonassen, who competed in five Thomas Cup Finals for Denmark from 1998-2006 and finishing as runners-up twice in 2004 and 2006.