In badminton, there were quite a number of greats that ruled the badminton world in different eras. Here are 12 top players from different eras. Who would you pick to win this 12 men tournament with all using the same modern equipment and the current scoring system?
There were too many great players in the history of this sport. We apologized if we have missed out some of the other favorite great players. Even their names are not on the list. Just to name a few players who could be on the list such as Heryanto Arbi, Hendrawan, Lim Swie King, Rashid Sidek, Wong Choong Hann, Joko Suprianto, Icuk Sugiarto, Han Jian, Poul Erik Hoyer Larsen and many more.
- Yang Yang (China)
One of the most successful player in the mid 80’s to early 90’s. The first men singles player to win the World Championship twice (1987 & 1989) which he holds the record for decades until Lin Dan came along. Winning multiple international titles and the 1988 Olympic Games (Experimental). Known for his hardworking ethics, net plays and accurate jumping smash.
- Zhao Jian Hua (China)
Known by his peers, for being the most deceptive Men Singles players of all time. Great racket handling skills and tactical play which got him winning multiple major tournaments like World Championship, Thomas Cup, All England during the late 80’s to early 90’s.
- Taufik Hidayat (Indonesia)
The first ever men singles player who became an Olympic and World Champion. Well known for his fluent footwork, effortless strokes and of course the Backhand. Became the youngest World Number 1 in the world rankings at the age of 18 years old. And the last great hope for Indonesia’s men singles player during the late 90’s and mid 2000’s. After his seniors like Hendrawan and Heryanto Arbi retired, who were World Champions before him.
- Morten Frost (Denmark)
Winner of around 43 International titles including his impressive 4 All England titles. Noted for his exceptionally smooth, tactical play and fluid footwork, Frost’s playing style was something of a cross between the traditional singles game featuring numerous clears (lobs) and drops, with smashes often reserved for weak returns, and the modern singles game featuring more smashing from the outset of a rally to create openings. One of top 4 players in the golden era of the late 70’s to late 80’s. Frost also holds the record for being the longest serving player in the Denmark National Team (1976 to 1991).
- Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia)
The best men’s singles player, that Malaysia has ever produced. Lee Chong Wei has been dominating the world badminton scene for over a decade since 2004. He was even ranked World Number #1 for almost 7 years! Having won an impressive 66 career title, which include 4 All England Championship. One of the few great player that has not won any major title like the World Championship, Olympic Games or the Asian Games. Despite lacking of those major titles, Lee Chong Wei still proves he is the best players in his era reaching the finals or winning for most of the tournaments he participate and displayed great determination with career threatening issues such as injuries and the doping ban. After the doping ban of 8 months, Lee Chong Wei’s ranking drop drastically to #189 ranked. With sheer determination and perseverance, it took the Malaysia hero less than 12 months to be ranked #1.
- Lee Hyun Ill (Korea)
One the best Korean singles player. In his prime, he is mainly labelled as the dark horse. Beating almost every top player in his era. Known for his patient play and fitness. The left handed Korean, is the first ranked number 1 in the world for any Korean Men’s Singles player. Now at age of 37(2017) still competing at lower tier tournaments, even the younger players or the current national player are still having a tough time to beat him.
- Rudy Hartono (Indonesia)
Rudy Hartono dominated the badminton scene during the mid-60 to early 80’s. Rudy became the youngest player to win the prestigious All England Championship in 1968 at the age of 18 years old. He then hold the record of winning 7 All England Championship consecutively and 8 time all together, which got him inducted in the Guiness World of Records. Back then in the 1960’s and 1970’s winning the All England is like winning the World Championship. The World Championship only been introduced in the badminton circuit during the late 70’s. Rudy’s game is modernized with speed and power and some old school fighting spirit.
- Peter Gade (Denmark)
During his prime in the late 90’s to early 2000’s. Peter Gade seems to be the untouchable player for a couple of years. After settling a silver medal during the World Champion in 2001. Peter decided to go for a knee surgery. And he did not compete for a couple years. Even with the comeback, I believe he is not as dangerous as before despite playing at the top level. During his prime, he is known for his lightning speed smashes, fast footwork and tricky wristwork.
- Chen Long (China)
Undoubtedly one the best men’s singles player in the modern era. But his career success is being shadowed by his senior and currently still playing teammate Lin Dan. In his own right, Chen Long as won almost all major titles such as World Championship(2times), All England Championship (2 times), Asian Championship and he is the reigning Olympic Champion(2016). With his tall physique, Chen Long is known to cover the court effortless and steep smashes.
- Lin Dan (China)
Lin Dan don’t need any introduction, as many regard him as the best player that has ever graced the badminton court. In his prime known for his fearsome attacking play and diving defense. At times, he even seems like he walking around the court. Despite winning all the major tournaments, the 5 times World Champion and 2 times Olympic Champion still displayed great hunger to win the major tournaments multiple times. At age of 28 Lin had completed the “Super Grand Slam”, having won all nine major titles in the badminton world: Olympic Games, World Championships, World Cup, Thomas Cup, Sudirman Cup, Super Series Masters Finals, All England Open, Asian Games, and Asian Championships, becoming the first and only player to achieve this feat.
- Foo Kok Keong
Foo Kok Keong an inspirational figure in Malaysia badminton alongside Malaysia’s golden era of the Sidek Brothers and Cheah Soon Kit and Soo Beng Kiang during mid 80’s and early 90’S. In his prime he has beaten almost all top players in his era including the Legendary Yang Yang and Zhao Jian Hua. A true underdog noted for his never give up attitude, he has even once vomited during game live on National Television due to exhaustion and managed to win the game. At one point, Foo Kok Keong was kicked out of the national team at the age of 27 years due to below losing in early rounds and there’s no results. Most players would have gave up the sports as back then, there’s not much financial support for athletes who is not in the national team and without any recognition. But with sheer perseverance and determination he managed to picked himself up and blooming at the age of 28. One of the most memorable victory was winning the Thomas Cup IN 1992, where he won a major point for Malaysia against Indonesia’s future Olympic Champion Alan Budi Kusuma. A true underdog that no one underestimates during his era.
- Prakash Padukone (India)
A true Indian badminton icon that puts India on the map in the badminton world. Known for his soft touch and steep smashes. Prakash Padukone is one the great players in the late 1970’s to the late 1980’s.