Marcus Ellis urged England team-mates to grasp the opportunity of vying with global stars from 15 top nations at the TotalEnergies BWF Sudirman Cup.
Just as golfers relish the Ryder Cup and tennis players have the Davis Cup, for shuttlers the unique mixed team matchplay format of the 32-year-old tournament brings with it special motivation.
“Badminton is normally a very individual sport, you’ve only got yourself to think about,” said two-time Olympian Ellis.
“The Cup is a really good time for the team to come together and you do get a nice atmosphere of feeling like you’re playing for something bigger than yourself.”
Ellis, born in the very same year the Sudirman Cup was first contested, will line up in an English squad studded with young talent like 17-year-old Estelle van Leeuwen and recently-crowned national champion Jonnie Torjussen.
“I’m being called the old man of the group now, which is quite upsetting!” said the 32-year-old. “I feel like I’ve been 25 for a few years now!”
Callum Hemming has tasted success in his early steps on the international circuit, alongside Steven Stallwood in men’s doubles and Jessica Pugh in mixed doubles, with the trio all set to represent their country in Vantaa this week.
With five Olympians in the mix, including Ellis and his mixed partner Lauren Smith, her women’s doubles companion Chloe Birch, and Ben Lane and Sean Vendy there is an exciting fondue of youth and experience heading to Finland.
“It’s important that young players get the chance to compete at the top level and the sooner you can get that chance, the better,” said Ellis.
“A lot of the guys got to play at the YONEX All England Open and this is another chance to test themselves.
“They’re going to play against some really world-class opponents. Let’s see if that makes them step up and how they measure up against the best.
“My advice to them will be not to feel intimidated by anyone you play. Every game is one to learn from, there’s no expectation on them to be number one in the world yet.
“You want to come off court knowing you’ve given it your best, considering where you’re at that the moment, then you can make an honest evaluation of where you need to go next. That’s invaluable.”
England are joined in a competitive Group D by Japan, who will be led by reigning world champion Kento Momota, Lee Zii Jia’s Malaysia and Egypt.
“We’ve got to be realistic on where we’re at,” said Ellis.
“We’d expect to be fairly dominant against Egypt. When we’re playing Japan, and particularly Malaysia, we feel that we’ve got chances to put them under pressure, particularly in all of the doubles events.
“It only takes one unexpected win to turn the tide. Don’t underestimate the power of the pressure that can be put on people, especially when there’s a lot of expectation on those teams.”