Relationship helps British duo Robertson and Wallwork

WORLD BADMINTON CHAMPIONSHIPS 2011

Venue:
Wembley Arena, London
Dates:
8-14 August
Coverage:
BBC sport website will have daily video reports on the first three rounds and Twitter updates from BBC Sport's Jessica Creighton - @Jess_BBCSport

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British badminton stars insist they're back on track after a turbulent year

Britain's Nathan Robertson believes his off-court relationship with mixed doubles partner Jenny Wallwork has benefited their on-court performance.

Wallwork teamed up with Robertson in 2008, after Gail Emms' retirement, but the duo have only been in a relationship for about a year.

They go into the World Championships at Wembley next week as England's only seeded players.

"We're both desperate to win for each other," Robertson told BBC Sport.

"Being partners both on and off the court, we're a lot more honest with each other on the court.

"When Jenny and I are being critical of each other on the court we know we're both desperate to do well for each other."

Robertson won 2004 Olympic silver and 2006 world mixed doubles gold with Emms but the duo missed out on a repeat at the Beijing Games.

Following a run of solid performances this season, Robertson is upbeat about his chances in the Worlds.

"The minimum for us is to reach the last 16. In the last year we've had several wins against top 10 and top five pairs so on our day we're capable of going further than that," he said.

"And being a home World Championships, the extra adrenaline and motivation could push us quite a bit further."

British medal hopes also rest with England's top male singles player Rajiv Ouseph and Scotland's Susan Engelstaff in the women's singles.

Last year was a successful one for Ouseph, who battled his way to the US Open crown before securing a Commonwealth silver medal.

But Ouseph, ranked 27th in the world, faces a tough draw against the number three seed, Peter Gade of Denmark in the first round, whom he has never beaten in the six times they have played.

British players have been set a target of three quarter-final places at the event.

"Hopefully I can reach the quarter finals," said Ouseph, who went out in the third round in last year's tournament.

"This season has been indifferent so far. Now is a good chance to become more steady with my results looking ahead to next year," he added.

The championships come following a difficult in British badminton, which left it the only summer Olympic sport to have funding cut last December by UK Sport.

Head coach Andy Wood also resigned amid player infighting involving Robertson and Scotland's Robert Blair.

So the England squad are eager to prove their troubles are behind them when they begin their quest for a first world medal in five years.

"We've had some changes," said doubles coach Julian Robertson. "Things happen sometimes in sport and you have to move on. I think it's a fresh start."

"We're focused on good training and a good run of tournaments, and keeping players on Olympic track."

The tournament serves as an unofficial 2012 Olympic test event to enable Games organisers to assess the venue's suitability.

Should Robertson and Wallwork reach the quarter-final stage as planned, it should propel them further up the world rankings, in which they currently lie eighth.

If the pair maintain a top-eight placing in the world rankings by April 2012, they will qualify for next summer's Olympic Games outright.

However, the team may claim up to two automatic qualification spots as host nation.

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