February could be a memorable month for Huddersfield badminton ace Marcus Ellis.
And the month gets off with a challenging start today as he teams up alongside Olympian Gail Emms at the English National Badminton Championships in Milton Keynes.
It has been a period of transition for Ellis – the 2013 National Championship men’s doubles finalist alongside Chris Adcock – as he split from his partner Paul Van Rietvelde and is now playing alongside Merseyside youngster Tom Wolfenden.
The pair have clicked as a partnership, reaching the semi-finals of the Swedish Masters last month, while the pair will head to Basle on February 11 to compete at the European Championships.
Although conceding the month ahead is a daunting prospect, Ellis is ready for the nationals, which will be held at a brand new home at stadiummk – home of MK Dons Football Club.
He is teaming up with Emms in the mixed doubles, who is making a one-off return to the sport having won Olympic silver in Athens a decade ago alongside Nathan Robertson.
“I will be playing alongside Gail in the mixed, I stopped playing mixed doubles halfway through last year, but Gail asked me a couple of months ago so I thought why not,” said Ellis.
“It’s going to be a real experience playing alongside her. I think in the quarter-finals we will play Chris and Gabby Adcock, so hopefully it will be a repeat of last year and we can do well.
“We haven’t had any practice, but I’m sure she can play to the same standard because she is an unbelievable player and even though she has retired for some time, I’m sure she can do things just as well if not better.”
Ellis’ main focus in Milton Keynes will be his men’s doubles partnership with Wolfenden, and while results obviously define a combination, performances and chemistry will be occupying the
Huddersfield youngster’s mind as he takes to the court.
“We played in the Swedish Open in the middle of January and got to the semi-finals, we had to come all the way through qualifying because we had no ranking,” he added.
“I think we played some good stuff out there so hopefully in the next few tournaments we can progress further.
“Because he is only 19, when you first come to the national centre you improve straight away which is quite exciting because he can play good stuff already too I think he can progress quickly and we can push on.
“Everyone always wants to win internationals but our focus is to get the performance and hopefully the results will come with that.
“I do believe that if we play our best stuff we have got a great chance to beat anyone we face at the Europeans and domestically.”
Live coverage of the Nationals on Sunday, February 9, from 12pm to 5pm at www.badmintonengland.co.uk/tv and tickets are still available to buy at www.nationalbadmintonchamps.co.uk.”