Southwell Peter Mills was left hugely disappointed with his YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships campaign, but is confident his new partnership with Sean Vendy is capable of challenging the best in the world.
Mills was given a baptism of fire at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham on Tuesday as it was his first outing with the 19-year-old Vendy.
The English duo were handed a favourable draw against France’s Bastian Kersaudy and Gaëtan Mittelheisser but ended up losing 21-16, 21-14.
And Mills, a two-time Commonwealth Games medallist, said: “I am disappointed because we did not settle into the game that we know we can play.
“It is our first game out together, it is a big experience and it is Sean’s first All England, whereas they are a pair who has played together for a long time.
“Obviously winning is important but we are at the stage of our partnership where we want to perform well and give the best we can and I don’t think we did that then.
“It is a resounding disappointment that we did not play our best.”
Vendy showed his potential as a junior, when he was ranked as high as 26th in the world.
And former Minster School pupil Mills expects his new partner to have a bright future in the sport.
The 27-year-old said: “If we keep playing together and play well then who knows where we will go. We hope obviously in six months to a year’s time we are pushing the top 20 in the world but who knows – and you do not want to put limits on it because we all want to be doing well.
“But there is no reason why we can’t push those top players in a year or so.
“Besides from the disappointment of losing the game and not playing well, I was excited for this week after we put in some good weeks of training together.
“I have seen some really good things from Sean but I do not think we saw the best of either of us.
“I want to pass on as much as I can to Sean because he is an exciting talent and he has some really good skills but it is about putting them into his game.
“Neither of us settled today so we did not see those good things but in the future I think we will once we work out how to get the best out of each other.
“Today is the start of that learning curve and hopefully starting with disappointment will bring us close and we can help us get the best out of each other moving forward.”
Watch the world’s best players at the YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships at Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena from 8-13 March. For tickets visit allenglandbadminton.com