Marcus Ellis insisted there was no need for any home truths with partner in life and badminton Lauren Smith after England were consigned to the bronze medal match at Birmingham 2022.
The Huddersfield hero, 32, and girlfriend Smith lost the opening mixed doubles of England’s semi-final defeat to Malaysia, but Ellis believes it is a case of ‘minor adjustments’ rather than anything major ahead of Tuesday’s third-place play-off.
Toby Penty was then edged out 21-13 21-14 before Ben Lane and Sean Vendy’s defeat in the men’s doubles completed a 3-0 win for Malaysia which meant Preston’s Chloe Birch did not even get the chance to take to the court in the final women’s doubles rubber alongside Smith.
“Not only have we played together for a few years now, we have both played professionally for many years,” said Ellis, who is one of over 1,100 elite athletes on UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, allowing them to train full time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support.
“We know individually what we need to do when we go out there. It is only minor things that we must adjust when we are out there.”
Ellis and Smith took the first set of their opening mixed doubles match against the Malaysian pair of Chan Peng Soon and Cheah Yee See to get England off to a perfect start.
But a tight second set went to the Malaysians 21-18 before they completed the comeback by taking the third set 21-13, leaving Penty to reflect on what might have been.
“In team competition, momentum in terms of the tie is so important,” he said.
“On a different day, Marcus and Lauren win that match in two sets and it’s a very different tie but I still think I could have played better at the start of my match regardless of their result.
“That’s where it’s a little bit disappointing for myself but that’s the beauty of this format, this tournament, and these Games, is that I’ve got plenty of opportunities to put it right again.
“I tried my best to engage the crowd as much as possible, try and get that extra bit of support and I’m grateful they stuck by me even when things weren’t going well for me.”
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