Wednesday, 22 May 2024

BWF World Championships: Christo and Toma Popov – A Unique Badminton Duo

Christo and Toma in action.

Not long after securing a significant victory in men’s doubles, Christo Popov finds himself switching gears to focus on singles. Transitioning from doubles to singles comes with its own set of challenges – the sense of space, the shots, and the opponent. And when that opponent is Viktor Axelsen, the task becomes even more complex. Christo has to prepare for this formidable opponent just hours after defeating Europe’s third highest ranked pair in men’s doubles, Mark Lamsfuss and Marvin Seidel, currently ranked at No.23.

The Popov brothers, Christo and Toma Junior, are a unique commodity in contemporary badminton. They excel in both singles and doubles, showcasing their versatility and skill at an elite level. Although double-tasking was more common in the early years of the World Championships, it quickly faded due to the specialization and the immense physical and mental demands of playing two different categories.

“It’s not easy, but we have been doing it professionally for the past two years,” says Christo. “We’re getting used to it, but switching from doubles to singles is always challenging. The pace, shots, and footwork on the court are different. It’s crucial to have a proper warmup before the match.”

Tham Khảo Thêm:  Badminton Pan America

Occasionally, there is a bit of a hangover from one discipline to the other. Toma recalls with a laugh how they sometimes get mixed up with court positioning.

“There are differences between singles and doubles because in doubles, we have to be aware of each other’s positions on the court. Footwork is important. Today, at the beginning of the match, he played a flat shot, and I ended up taking his side, leaving the entire court empty. It happens sometimes.”

How long does it take for them to readjust?

“It doesn’t take long,” assures Christo. “Sometimes, we might lose a few points, and they might be crucial points. I’d say it takes about two to three points to find our rhythm again.”

Despite the additional load, they have gained from their dual focus, adding more tools to their arsenal.

“The speed of the racket and the pace of the game are beneficial to have in singles,” adds Toma.

Interestingly, the Popov brothers are in a unique position with Paris 2024 on the horizon. They have a chance to qualify not only in doubles but also for two singles spots.

“Our goal is to both be in the top 16,” says Toma. “If he wins, I’m happy, and if I win, he’s happy. There are no negative vibes between us. We have each other’s backs.”

FAQs

1. How do the Popov brothers manage to excel in both singles and doubles?
The Popov brothers have dedicated themselves to developing their skills in both disciplines. They have been double-tasking professionally for the past two years and have become accustomed to the challenges it presents. They emphasize the importance of a proper warmup and adjusting their pace, shots, and footwork when transitioning from doubles to singles.

Tham Khảo Thêm:  Badminton Pan America

2. Do the Popov brothers ever face difficulties due to playing in both disciplines?
Occasionally, there is a bit of a hangover from playing one discipline to the other. They may encounter challenges with court positioning and lose a few points during the transition. However, they quickly readjust and find their rhythm again.

3. What are their goals for Paris 2024?
Both Christo and Toma aim to qualify for the top 16 in singles and doubles. They have a supportive dynamic, rooting for each other’s success. Their goal is to perform at their best and secure their spots in both categories.

Conclusion

The Popov brothers, Christo and Toma, are carving a unique path in contemporary badminton as they excel in both singles and doubles. Their dedication and versatility have allowed them to compete at an elite level in two vastly different categories. With Paris 2024 on the horizon, the brothers have their sights set on qualifying for the top 16 in both singles and doubles. Their supportive bond and shared goals make them a formidable duo to watch out for in the badminton world. To learn more about their journey and stay updated on their progress, visit Carnegiecentre.