Beijing: China's badminton superstar Lin Dan said he hopes world number one Lee Chong Wei, who is embroiled in a doping scandal, is able to return to the sport soon, state media reported.
"I hope that this great player comes back to the court as soon as possible," Lin said referring to Lee, according to China's official Xinhua news agency.
"Not only does Malaysia need him, but the whole badminton world needs him."
Lee, currently the world number one, has been suspended from competition after testing positive for the banned anti-inflammatory dexamethasone, and could be barred for up to two years.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) said Tuesday that Lee was suspended "due to an apparent anti-doping regulation violation" while a panel considers whether he has committed an offence.
Lee said the turn of events felt like a "bad dream", adding there was "no way" he could have taken the drug outside the auspices of Malaysia's National Sports Institute.
Lin and Lee have long been rivals despite Lin's frequent absences due to repeated injuries. The two players have faced off 33 times since 2004, according to Xinhua. "I hope Lee's scandal isn't real," Lin was quoted as saying on Wednesday. "I still want to see the Lin-Lee rivalry, those games always bring great fun for the fans."