Clark retired but
Clark has retired from international badminton. But
he has not retired his hopes of winning another
national men’s doubles, something which would equal the
record of ten titles achieved by Mike Tredgett in this
After saying goodbye to an outstanding professional
career in November, Clark had a couple of months, he
admits, when he didn’t pick up a racket. So there is no
way he will be up to the speed he was.
Nor will he play in the style he did when winning World
silver medals in men’s and mixed doubles in Madrid back
in 2006, or reaching the All-England final in mixed with
Donna Kellogg, or capturing the only Super Series
title England has ever won, the Singapore Open in 2009,
when he and Nathan Robertson defeated the Olympic
champions Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan.
The odds are against him winning that tenth title.
Moreover is playing with another England international
who has retired from the professional game, Kristian
Roebuck. So why is he doing it?
Perhaps partly because Clark was denied a strong chance
of a tenth title last year as Robertson’s partner when
he withdrew after being hit in the eye in practice, and
certainly partly because of the buzz.
“The nationals were always an important tournament for
me,” he said. “It was a bit of a stepping stone to
bigger and bigger things. If you can’t win the national
title how can you expect to go on track of the best
players in the world? So I always put a lot of emphasis
on that tournament, and put pressure on myself.
have been favourite to win in the last ten years,
probably. So you have everything to lose and not a lot
to gain, but I still loved playing and winning it. I put
a lot of pressure on myself. This year all the pressure
is on everyone else!”
Those who think that Clark’s partnership with Roebuck,
with whom he has never played before, is rather an
unexpected one, don’t know the personal history.
They have known each other since they were children in
Derbyshire, the families are still close friends,
Roebuck was Clark’s best man when he was married, and
they have practised together often.
“It’s a shame we never actually played together because
he was a very, very good player, and never had the
opportunity to show what he was capable of,” Clark says.
“We are very, very close. So we will have a nice time
and a nice weekend. And if we don’t win we will enjoy
So it may be fun, and it may be the lure of adrenaline
which is motivating them. But don’t rule out the
possibility of them causing a surprise.
could go there and find that the top two seeds,
professional players, are too quick and strong for us,”
Clark admitted, referring to the favourites Chris
Adcock and Andy Ellis and the second seeds, Chris
Langridge and Peter Mills.
“I kind of expect that, but if we use a bit of common
sense and nous, maybe we can upset them a little bit. So
that’s what we will try and do. It’s not just about
speed and power, and that’s what we will bring to the
“I had a couple of months when I just enjoyed myself,
but I have been playing quite a lot in the last few
weeks. I had so much pain throughout my body in the last
two years, and now I am getting out of bed and feel I am
“It will be interesting to see what I am still capable
of. Anything could happen!”