Mention Lin Dan and a wry smile appears on Kieran Merrilees’ face, a disbelieving laugh and a shake of the head.
Playing the Chinese superstar is not how he had expected his first round tie to fare at the TOTAL BWF World Championships, but that’s exactly what Merrilees, ranked 66th in the world, will face come tomorrow afternoon (Monday).
The two-time Olympic champion and five-time World gold medallist comes to Glasgow as one of the favourites to take the title, in what is widely expected to be his final World Championships appearance.
It’s an opportunity 27-year-old Merrilees will relish, having watched Lin - seeded seventh - dominate the badminton world for more than a decade as the Scottish No.1 rose up the rankings.
Yet while Merrilees is in no doubt of the onerous challenge that lies in wait, he’s confident having the home crowd behind him can give him an advantage not even the Chinese star will have.
“It doesn’t get much tougher than Lin Dan,” he said. “When I saw the draw, part of me was pretty gutted, but I’m also quite excited to get the opportunity to play against the greatest player of all time in front of a home crowd.
“I’ve watched so much footage of Lin - he’s probably every men’s singles player’s favourite. He’s done what every one of us wants to achieve in our career and more.
“I think I’ve just got to try and use the home crowd to my advantage. Of course, I respect him, but I can’t be scared of him.
“I’ve just got to try and keep the shuttle going for as long as possible, play to my strengths, and attack.
“It’s a slow hall, so hopefully I can keep the rallies going and make him hit a few mistakes.”
The TOTAL BWF Badminton World Championships 2017 will be staged at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena from 21-27 August.
With just a handful of tickets remaining for the TOTAL BWF World Championships, the clock is ticking for badminton fans to secure their piece of the action. Tickets available at www.glasgow2017.com/tickets