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Emms enjoying retirement

By David Garrido

Gail Emms
Emms felt 'hurt' when she saw Wallwork's name alongside Robertson's

Two months on from her last game, Gail Emms says she isn't missing competitive badminton one bit.

The 31-year-old has been enjoying retirement since she and partner Nathan Robertson went out in the second round of the Olympic mixed doubles.

"I'm not missing those early-morning training sessions, I'm just really chilled out," she told BBC Sport.

"I've been seeing more of my family and friends, but I seem to be baking lots so I need to get my act together soon!"

It's going to be difficult playing with Nathan - he's got his moments of genius and moodiness

Gail Emms

While Emms is enjoying her time off the court, it's full steam ahead for Robertson, who is now teaming up with 21-year-old Jenny Wallwork, as the focus turns to London 2012.

The new duo reached the second round in their first competitive outing in Denmark last week and Emms believes the new partnership will be the challenge Robertson needs moving forward.

"Jenny's very similar to me," says Emms. "She's got that winning mentality, that competitiveness, that feistiness.

Jenny Wallwork and Nathan Robertson
Wallwork and Robertson got off to a victorious start in Denmark recently

"It's going to be difficult playing with Nathan - he's got his moments of genius and moodiness, but it's great for her to learn from him.

"This is one of the reasons why I retired - I needed a new motivation in my life and this is a great thing for Nathan - he's got a new motivation for him in badminton."

And while she admits feeling "hurt" when she saw Wallwork's name alongside Robertson's for the first time, she has no regrets about not playing tournaments any more.

"Donna Kellogg [former women's doubles partner] texted me the other day from the airport saying 'Oh, we're delayed' so I don't miss any of that travelling-malarkey. But I will miss the people."

We can't compete with the popularity of the sport in the Far East and how they perceive badminton in their culture

Gail Emms

Coaching does not appear to be a temptation long-term for Emms, Olympic silver medallist with Robertson in Athens and for so long the poster girl of the sport in the UK.

"I think you have to be slightly nuts to be a coach - you're not only a coach, you're a parent, a therapist, a psychologist, and I think I'm not ready for that yet."

She hasn't hung up her racket completely, though.

She is still involved in mentoring youngsters like Gabby White at the National Badminton Centre, and has also signed up for the London Marathon, despite admitting she is "not built for marathon running".

Although Beijing failed to produce the medals Badminton England were hoping for, the organisation's goals over the next decade remain extremely ambitious.

606: DEBATE

They are looking to appoint a new performance director who will not only help achieve medal success in four years' time, but also make England the top badminton nation in the world by 2016.

However, Emms remains unconvinced: "I think it's aiming a little bit too high personally.

"We can't compete with the popularity of the sport in the Far East and how they perceive badminton in their culture.

"I know we're going to have a great influx of talented players coming through, but only a few will make it."

The secret, according to the Olympic silver-medallist from Athens, is changing the perception of the game.

"Lots of people play badminton, but it is seen as a hobby sport. We play in leagues in Denmark and Germany at the moment - we shouldn't be doing that, we should be playing in our own country."

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see also
Robertson and Wallwork defeated
23 Oct 08 |  Olympics
Wallwork braced to fill Emms role
14 Oct 08 |  Olympics
Robertson pairs up with Wallwork
13 Oct 08 |  Olympics
Robertson targets 2012 minus Emms
28 May 08 |  Badminton


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