Liew Daren is pining on having a successful, injury-free 2020 season as he approaches the final stretch of his career.
However, the independent player has another test he must pass besides good results on court: he needs a sponsor to continue playing on the BWF World Tour circuit.
Liew’s three-year deal with low-lost carrier airline AirAsia ends in March next year, and he has yet to secure something just yet.
"I am in discussions with them [AirAsia]. I am hoping things would work out, but I am also on the lookout for potential new sponsors," he said.
The 32-year-old needs to be at his best on court to impress potential suitors, and in order to do that he must stay injury-free.
2019 was a forgettable year for the 2018 World Championships bronze medalist.
He started the year with a bang by upsetting a few big names to reach the semi-finals of the Malaysia Masters, but a heel injury forced him to withdraw from the competition.
That would be his best achievement of the year, as the injury derailed his form for the remainder of the season.
"I need to perform better. I suffered plenty early round exits this year, and that injury itself took a long time to recover from. It also meant I was out for a long time and it affected my game," he said.
Ranked 30th at the moment, Liew still has a shot to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, knowing that raising his game leaps and bounds is the only way to do so.
His year will kickstart at the upcoming Malaysia Masters from January 7 to 12, and he will have to work his way from the qualifiers starting with India’s Subhankar Dey.
"All the top players are coming for the Malaysia Masters, and it is a tough field. Playing in the qualifiers also means I have to play two matches in a day. Nonetheless, I am prepared for a good start,” added Liew.
Should he overcome Subhankar, he will go on to face either Suppanyu Avihingsanon of Thailand or China’s Zhao Jun Peng for a spot in the main draw.