Badminton’s Most Valuable Player
TAI Tzu Ying is the benchmark for all that is captivating about badminton. Her triumph at this year’s World Tour Finals was a radiant festival of skill fused with courage.
Fans suffered through an intense game. The score see-sawed as neither player was able to subdue the other. Marin had dominated January’s tournaments in Bangkok: played 2 won 2. At 15-10 up in the last set of this final she was starting to look unstoppable; she had the hat-trick within her grasp.
I hate matches like this. I love matches like this.
All through the battle TTY had a potent strategy: keep Carolina from dominating the forecourt and net area, keep her pinned back and persist with the difficult questions of her rear-court backhand. It was the unforced errors that were jeopardising her challenge. Marin’s noisy, boisterous approach, constant towel-downs and delays brought friction to the encounter. I have never seen TAI Tzu Ying refuse an opponent’s request for a new shuttle before and she seemed irritated by some of her opponent’s attempts at psychological warfare.
When she stepped on court TTY knew that she had to stay patient and eliminate mistakes. Once a rival hands the initiative to Marin she will lock in on victory, her velocity increases and she bulldozes her way to Gold. Trailing 17-19 in the final set TAI roused herself for a final effort. She pulled and pushed Marin around the court’s four corners and to draw level she produced an exquisite drop that was unplayable. 19-19. She brought up match point with another dazzling drop. Two points in a row and no errors. The title was sealed by a shot that forced Marin to turn and retreat to the back line. Slightly off-balance she misjudged its trajectory and it fell in. It was all over. Victory to TAI Tzu Ying.
An arena with no spectators erupted with applause. All around the world, fans who had been watching through their fingers could celebrate.
“Finally, I won. When I can remain calm and patient, I can win the game. In the end it was a tight game…before this match today I kept telling myself that I had to play patiently. In the previous matches, all my mistakes were caused my own impatience…I made some mistakes and that cost me against Marin because she is fast. I need to put a lot more effort to keep up with Marin’s pace.”TAI Tzu Ying courtesy BWF Press Office
This win confirms her rise to legendary status. Like Michael Jordan and Lionel Messi, she is an athlete whose skills transcend her sport. Flair blended with ambition is a rare joy to witness and we are privileged to enjoy the genius of TAI Tzu Ying.
If you enjoyed this take a look at this article about TTY https://womensbadminton.co.uk/2020/10/03/we-miss-tai-tzu-ying/ or this one about the Taiwan mock Olympics https://womensbadminton.co.uk/2020/08/03/tai-tzu-ying-and-taiwans-mock-tokyo-olympics/
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