Seven-time European champion figure skater Evgeny Plushenko is to face rivals Patrick Chan and Daisuke Takahashi at the Japan Open on Saturday, his coach Alexei Mishin told R-Sport on Tuesday.
Since winning the European championships on returning to the sport in January after time out with injuries and a ban, Plushenko has not skated against either world No. 1 Chan or former world champion Takahashi.
The last time the three heavyweights competed together was at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, when Plushenko took the silver behind America's Evan Lysacek.
“He’s heading to Japan, where he’ll take part in the Japan Open tournament,” Mishin said of Plushenko.
But nine months out of competition mean the 31-year-old skater is setting modest goals for the tournament, his coach said.
“You need to bear in mind that Plushenko hasn’t taken part in competitions since January of this year. Therefore our goal is not now to win and crush his opponents, but to show that Evgeny remains in the cohort of the best skaters in the world.”
The Japan Open is a one-day team event in which skaters represent geographical regions, with mixed-gender teams for North America, Europe and Japan.