BOSTON — Yuzuru Hanyu, the smiling, laughing Japanese Olympic champion said Monday that he’s seeking “revenge” at the World Championships this week.
“Because I lost last year in this competition, I feel like I have to revenge,” Hanyu, who sometimes speaks English in interviews, said after his first practice at TD Garden.
A translator stood next to him, but Hanyu chose to let his own words in his non-native language do the talking.
“I feel good, this practice,” Hanyu said. “I don’t know if I’ll be feeling good in competition in a sold-out arena.”
Hanyu entered the 2015 World Championships as the reigning Olympic, World and Grand Prix Final champion.
That stat belied a tumultuous 2014-15 season, when Hanyu collided violently with a skater in a November warm-up, then fell five times in his performance less than an hour later and had his Worlds prep interrupted by bladder surgery.
Hanyu led after the 2015 Worlds short program in Shanghai but uncharacteristically landed zero quadruple jumps in his free skate, falling on his lone attempt as his Spanish training partner Javier Fernandez overtook him for gold.
Hanyu could be seen clapping for Fernandez when the Spaniard’s winning score came up, but his competitive desire was evident in his word choice Monday.
This season, Hanyu put up the two highest total scores under the decade-old scoring system, beating Fernandez by a whopping 37.48 points in their only head-to-head in December. There, Hanyu and Fernandez both landed three quads.
Fernandez said Monday that he felt he had a chance to repeat this week if he and Hanyu both skated to the best of their abilities. That contradicts what he reportedly said before arriving in Boston.
“At this point, if we both skate clean, clean, clean, I will say he will beat me,” Fernandez said, according to an Icenetwork article published last week.
Their shared coach, Canadian 1988 Olympic silver medalist Brian Orser, refused to pick a favorite.
“Technically, they’re both the same as far as the jumping,” Orser said Monday. “Hanyu’s spins are a bit better, but I think Javi’s steps are better. … It would be hard to be on the [judges] panel to make that call. And I certainly would never make that call. You ain’t getting that from me.”