Faced with the reality of insufficient funding and a ranking that sits far away from Olympics qualification, men’s singles shuttler Liew Daren may have to make the biggest decision of his career by hanging up his racquet.
The world number 42 did well to make to the semi-finals of the Spain Masters on Saturday, but was no match for world number five Viktor Axelsen who easily won 21-10, 21-19.
While Axelsen would go on to win the title and get his season on track, Liew was left possibly staring at the end of his career.
"I came to Spain on my own and spent a fortune. It was worthwhile as I made it to the semifinals and I’m quite happy with it.
"But this result isn’t going to make any difference to my Olympic qualification bid as I won’t be playing again until the Singapore Open," Liew told The Star
The independent shuttler will return home after his Barcelona exploits and will miss the upcoming German Open (March 3-8), All England Championships (March 11-15) and Swiss Open (March 17-22) due to lack of funds.
The stark reality of his lack of funding fully kicked in when he could not register for the Indian Open (March 24-29).
"The official hotels are quite costly. If I opt elsewhere, the food and logistics would be an issue.
"If possible, I would love to see out 2020 but that depends if I could secure enough funds to last me until the end of the year," he added.
Liew's current sponsorship deal with AirAsia ends in March and he is also backed by Protech.
The highlights of the 32-year-old’s career came in 2012 when he won the French Open, and in 2018 when he reached the semi-finals of the World Championships.
Men’s doubles duo of Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik also saw their progress halted in the semi-finals in Spain after they lost to Danish pair Kim Astrup-Anders Rasmussen 16-21, 22-24.