Injured Viktor Axelsen pulls out of World Championships: "This is really frustrating"
Badminton star Viktor Axelsen is suffering from persistent back and leg pain and will not be back on a badminton court anytime soon.
This comes as another big blow to him and to badminton fans everywhere who had hoped to see him back in action.
"My injury is still not well and unfortunately I won't be able to take part in the World Champs and other tournaments in this period," wrote Axelsen on Instagram.
"Of course this is a really frustrating situation, but I'm keeping my head high, and I will do whatever I can to be back as soon as possible."
The 2017 World Champion was already sidelined during two big tournaments in July: The Indonesian Open in Jakarta and the Japan Open in Tokyo.
Asthma, allergies and other injuries
In 2017 Viktor Axelsen became the first European to claim the No. 1 spot since Peter Gade (2006), but his interstellar rise has been arrested by injury.
His World Championship defence in August at the 2018 Worlds in Nanjing, China, was stopped in the quarter finals by Rio 2016 gold medallist Chen Long.
"Today Chen Long played better than I did. I made too many mistakes, especially at crucial time in the first game," Axelsen said afterwards.
The Dane had returned from injury a couple of months earlier in April - after months off recovering from ankle surgery - to win the European Championship in Huelva, Spain.
Now in July 2019 after a year battling that ankle injury, asthma and allergies, back and leg pain, this latest news is another big setback just over a year away from Tokyo 2020.
But Axelsen won't give up.
The number five ranked player in the world is the spearhead of Denmark's elite shuttle team that is intent on breaking Asia's dominance of the game.
With younger rising stars like 21-year-old Mia Blichfeldt and 22-year-old Anders Antonsen - women's and men's European Games champions - coming up behind Axelsen, he's doing everything he can to get back to his best and lead the way.
He wants to get back to his best, and his best is very good - good enough to beat reigning Olympic champs and challenge Hollywood stars.
Remember when Axelsen challenged Hugh Jackman to a shuttle-off?
World champion badminton player Viktor Axelsen offers Hugh Jackman a game
World champion badminton player Viktor Axelsen offers Hugh Jackman a gameWant to see the Wolverine take on an Olympian?
Jackman still hasn't accepted the offer.
How tall is Viktor Axelsen?
But as Viktor works to return to competition, sometimes that height can get in the way:
And with work-out routines like this, fans worldwide will be hoping that Denmark's badminton hero can be back where he belongs: challenging the best in the world on the badminton court.
Watch what happened when Axelsen put football freestyler Philip Warren Gertsson (PWG) through one of his workouts here: