Marcus Ellis believes his Yonex All England success can provide a timely distraction from talk of the coronavirus.
The Huddersfield-born star stormed into the mixed doubles semi-finals alongside Lauren Smith on a thrilling Friday in Birmingham, continuing his pursuit of becoming the first home winner of the competition since Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms in 2005.
But it was disappointment for the 2016 Olympic bronze medallist in the men’s doubles, succumbing to defeat alongside Chris Langridge as they went down in three games against Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov.
Ellis and Smith sent the home crowd into raptures with mixed doubles victory over Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying, however, and the 30-year-old believes his success can offer an escape for sports fans getting sucked up in the doom and gloom of cancellations.
“At the moment there’s a lot of negativity out there and sometimes you feel like saying ‘come on, give it a rest,’ but it is an important issue,” he said.
“We’re just really, really happy that this event has gone ahead - it means so much to us and we really didn’t expect there to be so many people in the crowd.
“We want to say a massive thank you to them, because it wouldn’t be the same without them.
“It’s a really huge honour to get into the semi-finals - coming out today, it feels very, very special for us.
“But there are so many mixed emotions after losing with Chris - it’s a bit of a rollercoaster to be honest as I was on a big high and now I’m on quite a big low.”
Ellis and Smith started the day with a bang as they edged past Hong Kong pair Tang and Tse in a three game thriller, overturning a 1-0 deficit to restore parity and clinch the decider 21-11.
But Ellis was unable to continue his heroics alongside Langridge later that evening, losing 18-21 21-11 8-21 to leave him harbouring his hopes on the mixed competition.
And with a Saturday semi-final lined up against fifth seeds Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti, the experienced Ellis says he is daring to dream.
“Growing up, we came here as seven and eight-year-olds in the crowd and we dreamed of playing here, so to actually make the semi-finals is so special, and we’re at that point now where it feels like anything can happen,” he added.
“This victory with Lauren is right up there for me in terms of my career - this really, really is a very special tournament, and for me more so than an other tournament on the calendar bar the Olympics and the World Championships.
“It’s a really big deal, but the important thing is that we don’t just accept what we’ve done and we carry on pushing on - we want to test ourselves and see how many more upsets we can cause.”