The paltry Canadian Open winner's cheque did not even cover the cost of his flight back to Malaysia, but that mattered little to former world No 1 Lee Chong Wei who was just relieved to be a badminton champion again. Victory in Calgary over Hong Kong's Ng Ka-long followed on the back of success in New York the week before for the twice Olympic silver medallist and former world number one. Winning lowly grand prix titles would previously have carried little weight for one of the greats of the game but a humbling eight-month ban for doping, which expired last month, has changed perspectives for the 32-year-old Malaysian. Before the ban, I was the world number one ... It didn't matter even when I lost. In the US and Canada, I had to win no matter what to improve my world ranking and that was mentally challenging Lee Chong Wei "I won US$3,750 for the title today. It's not enough to cover for the flight, but it's not about money. It's the fantastic feeling of being a champion again," Lee was quoted as saying by Malaysian media yesterday. "Before the ban, I was the world number one for many years. It didn't matter even when I lost. In the US and Canada, I had to win no matter what to improve my world ranking and that was mentally challenging. "It was my first trip to the Opens in the US and Canada. I even struggled to adjust to the different time zones. I played a total of 12 matches in the last two weeks. "It's worth it. I am glad that I pulled through after staying at home for many months without playing any tournaments." Lee, whose ranking plummeted to 180 because of the ban for testing positive for dexamethasone at the world championships in August last year, had dropped games en route to the Calgary final with his coach saying his charge was suffering mental fatigue. But his sharpness returned in the final as he proved too strong for Ng. The victory should take Lee back up towards the top 60 in the rankings ahead of sterner tests next month at the Taiwan Open, which is scheduled to feature Chinese stars - world No 1 Chen Long and longtime foe Lin Dan, a two-time Olympic champion. "I will play in the Taiwan Open although my wife is expected to give birth to our second child during that time. She has given me her blessing to go," Lee said. "I need to play in Taiwan to get valuable world ranking points. "It will help me to qualify for my first two Superseries tournaments this year [in September]."