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Ones to watch in Delhi: Nathan Robertson & Jenny Wallwork

Nathan Robertson and Jenny Wallwork
Robertson and Wallwork are feeling good for some silverware in Delhi

By Mark Ashenden

Who would dare step into the shoes of Gail Emms? Jenny Wallwork has fearlessly done just just and the lively 23-year-old from Bolton and Nathan Robertson are now emerging into a badminton partnership feared across the globe.

Since Emms hung up her racquet after the Beijing Olympics two years ago, England's new pairing have won European bronzes, become national champions and broken into the world's top 15.

"I've gone from a short blonde to a tall brunette," declared Robertson, who is now looking to defend the Commonwealth title he won in 2006.

This year's been a little patchy but the pressure's now on as they arrive in Delhi as top seeds. Can they deliver?

FACTS AND STATS

ROBERTSON
Born: 30 May 1977, Nottingham

Career highlights: Winning 2006 world gold and 2004 Olympic silver

606: DEBATE

Career lowlights: Lying on an operating table. "There are games you lose but waiting to be operated on and not being sure of what will happen is horrible."

WALLWORK
Born: 17 January 1987, Bolton

Career highlights: Making the third round of the world championships in Paris in August. "That gives us a lot of confidence."

Career lowlights: Gabby White and I not medalling at the Europeans - we were knocked out in the quarter-finals.

HOW DO THEY FANCY THEIR CHANCES?

ROBERTSON:
"This competition is hugely exciting. It is Jenny's first major tournament and she will be tapping into my experience.

"This year has been up and down but it's another step. At last year's world championships we got our first win against a top five pair and they are all crucial learning experiences.

Jenny Wallwork
Wallwork has the spring and energy of 'Tigger' on the court

"I think we've got a good chance of making the podium in Delhi."

WALLWORK:
"Training's been going well and we are feeling very confident. We want to go out there and lay down a message that we are not to be messed with.

"We have got to believe - there is no point in playing otherwise. We both believe we can make our mark and that we can medal."

WHO ARE THEIR RIVALS?

Indian pair, second seeds and 12th in the world V Diju and Jwala Gutta should be strong contenders, while Malaysians Koo Kien Keat and Chin Eei Hui will be a huge threat.

Wallwork though says: "It will be a hard competition and we just need to focus on our own game."

WHAT ROBERTSON SAYS:

I'd rather be: "....with my 12-year-old daughter which is entertaining and challenging."

Hobbies: "I have a golf handicap of 12 which isn't bad for playing six to 10 times a year. I also love go-karting and online scrabble."

Robertson expects Games to run smoothly

Heroes: "Two tennis players. 2001 Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic and Andre Agassi. I have taken on their attitude and passion. Not to mention wearing Agassi's denim shorts."

If you could be a cartoon character: "Roger rabbit. Remember Jessica? I'll say no more!"

On Jenny: "We get on fantastically and we have the same understanding as I did with Gail. Her competitiveness is the best thing and I don't have to worry about her lifestyle choices."

Three words describing Jenny: "Feisty. Diva(ish). Hungry (for success).

WHAT WALLWORK SAYS:

I'd rather be: "....be back home in Leeds and taking time off with family and friends."

Hobbies: "Chilling out, going out for meals, cinema and just being social."

Heroes: "My parents. Simple."

If you could be a cartoon character: "Tigger."

On Nathan: "We get on really well and listen to each other which is helpful for our partnership. Sometimes he's annoying and talks too much though!

"The worst thing about him is that he can go crazy by throwing racquets about! I am feisty too so I can't really complain about that.

"His ability to read the game is amazing though - he is a very special player."

Three words describing Nathan: "Talented. Motivated. Unique.

The mixed doubles competition takes places between 9-14 October.



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