So the saying goes…. ‘fail to prepare; prepare to fail.’ One thing we’ve absolutely been doing lately is preparing. We’ve been preparing for our return to action for the first time since Gabby’s injury, preparing to finally get our 2018 campaign under way, and most recently we’ve been preparing for the Yonex All England Open Championships. Yes it’s true……we’re back at long last!

We’ve been through so much over these last few month and weeks, and I’m so proud of Gabs and how she’s never faltered with her unwavering determination to get black playing, and winning. Every athlete has their ups and downs, and this week for us looks set to be very much one of those good weeks which have been in fairly short supply since the New Year.

We always look forward to the All England. And it’s not just because it offers up massive ranking points or prestige, or the fact that it’s one of the longest running tournaments on the circuit that boats an illustrious list of past winners. This is the one major event we get to play at home, and as an athlete, there’s no better feeling than playing in front of a home crowd. Without a doubt, the home fans have contributed to us having enjoyed some really decent runs, including reaching the semi-finals for the last two years. Last year we came so close to making the Final, but a broken string for me on our match point didn’t exactly help us, and was in fact one of the times I’ve felt most gutted on court. But anyway, onto the positives, because that’s exactly how we’re feeling about this week.

Even thinking about walking on court gives me tingles. I’ve really missed the competition obviously, but I’ve also missed just being around all the buzz and excitement of a major event. The crowds are always really great in Birmingham, and we’re looking forward to meeting some of you at the signings. If you can’t make it and fancy tuning in, then you can watch via the BBC Sport website if you’re in the UK, or check the event’s website for broadcasters in your country.

As for our first match, well the draw’s already done and as 7th seeds, we play Goh Soon Huat and Shevon lemie Lai. I know I’ve already said it, but we just cannot stress how excited we are to get back on court. Every day since Gabby’s injury has been leading up to this point. The rehab to get us match fit for our return match is over, and we couldn’t have done more if we’d tried. We are ready, we’re healthy and we’re playing at home. And there’ll never be a better place to pull off something truly special than at home!

See you in Birmingham.


(Photo Credit: Badminton Photo)