This was always going to be memorable day for Anthony Clark as he clocked up his 100th cap for England. But the 32-year-old from Leicester can never have imagined it would be quite so traumatic.
Clark overcame a sleepless night, the pain and discomfort of toothache, a midday dash to the dentist and afternoon surgery to take his place among England’s badminton centurions.
Having endured the pain all night, Clark sweated through this morning’s match against the Falkland Islands before being whisked off to see a private dentist in Delhi this afternoon where he was given emergency root canal treatment under local anesthetic and plied with pain killers.
That would be enough to floor most mortals, but the experienced left-hander was not to be denied his bit of personal history and insisted on playing in the second game against Uganda scheduled to start at 7pm.
He took the court next to Robertson shortly after 8pm, just a few short hours after his minor operation, and the two quickly dispatched with their Ugandan rivals in two sets as England swept away the Africans with their second five-nil whitewash of the day.
“It’s been a rough old day,” said Clark afterwards. “I had a terrible night’s sleep with terrible tooth ache which is not an ideal way to start the tournament.
“I knew the games today were not that tough so I never really thought I wouldn’t play. I would have liked to celebrate my century in a slightly more glamourous way but I think it will take a bit of time to appreciate what getting to 100 means.
“It’s not just the last two games, it’s a lifetime.”
For the record, England’s triumph came thanks to Rajiv Ouseph in the men’s singles and Liz Cann in the women’s singles, while Robertson teamed up with Jenny Wallwork, and Wallwork joined Gabby White to round things off with a women’s doubles victory.
Robertson, who was rested from this morning’s match after carrying the flag of St George around Jawaharlal Nehru stadium last night, had some words of his own to mark Clark’s achievement.
“It’s very special,” said Robertson. “We grew up together and have pretty much gone through our entire careers together.
“I had the pleasure of playing with him in my 100th match so it’s nice to do it the other way round.
“Anthony is very professional and very talented, and he enjoys the game. It’s very important at our age that we’re enjoying it as much as possible because this job doesn’t last forever.”
Clark now faces another trip to the dentist on England’s day off tomorrow, but is already turning his attention to the task ahead.
“We want to go out and win a medal and that will be the big achievement. If we can do that then I can really celebrate my 100th cap.”
England return to the badminton court on Wednesday for games against Mauritius and Canada.