A little while ago Chris did a blog discussing some of his favourite players, both past and present, which got me thinking about who mine are and thought this would be quite cool for me to share with you guys.
I thought I’d start at the very beginning:
All the way through my junior career I loved playing singles, and watching the women at the very top of the sport in this discipline. At this time it was Camilla Martin from Denmark, she achieved so much in the sport and was a real inspiration for me.
I would always get so excited when it came around to the Yonex All England as this was usually be my only chance in a year to watch my idol. Watching Camilla play always lived up to my expectations & was always followed by me dragging my parents to the Yonex shop to buy the latest shirt or dress that she had worn.
As I moved through my career I obviously moved into the doubles & mixed disciplines of the sport.
Zhao Yunlei from China, now there’s pretty much nothing that Zhao Yunlei didn’t achieve as a badminton player. Multiple Olympic and World Champion in both doubles & mixed, and one of the most fierce competitors that I have seen and have played against.
She was always someone that, even though we were competing against, I would always watch and try and learn as much as I could from her. She was so fast and so aggressive, once she got hold of the shuttle at the net there was no getting it away from her!
Also the fact that she was able to consistently be the very best in the World in both women’s doubles and mixed doubles showed how fit & strong she was. I think to this day she is the only woman to win both the doubles and mixed doubles Gold medal at the same Olympic games. (London 2012)
Although of course it was always extremely tough I used to love the challenge of playing against her and taking her on & pitting myself against who in my opinion is one of, if not THE best ever.
Hendra is a true Legend of our sport and also a true gentleman! Again Hendra is both an Olympic & World Champion and has had an amazing career that has lasted so long and is still going at such a high level.
I was lucky enough to actually be watching live when Hendra, along with his partner Markis Kido, won the Olympics in Beijing when I had just started out on the professional senior tour. It was an amazing match and in the 3rd set the Indonesians were incredible.
The thing about Hendra is that he makes everything look so easy (and trust me it isn’t!!!) he is always one step ahead of his opponents and always seems to know exactly where to look for the next shot and play the perfect reply. I think one of the main reasons I love watching Hendra play so much is how amazing he is around the net, his touch and skill I think is second to none and he always does it with such calmness.
It was quite funny last year at the Indian Premier League we got to play a fun 3 vs 3 match in training with Hendra on mine & Chris’s team and wow seeing him do what he does best at the net so close was amazing. We were actually 14-14 in the match when it was Hendra’s turn at the net and we ended up winning 21-14 without me or Chris hardly hitting a shot!! haha!
Last, but by no means least, would be Carolina Marin. Now the most successful Women’s Singles player of all time, after winning the World Championship for the 3rd time in Nanjing a couple months ago to go along side her Olympic crown in Rio 2016. Carolina really has paved the way for Europe in her discipline, and has dominated the majors since 2014.
What I admire about Carolina the most is her desire and fighting spirit, it really is great to watch. Also the speed that she plays the game at is crazy, and whenever things seem to get tough she always seems to have another gear to move into.
I think the only question with Carolina is how many titles will she end her career with, and if anyone will get close to her achievements.
I hope that you guys have enjoyed reading my blog about my favorite players and stay tuned and look out for our next blog.
(Photo Credit: Badminton Photo)