I miss seeing my favourites on court so, as a response to the gloomy news about the postponement of the Malaysia Open, I have worked out the essence of a perfect player by taking the best bits from some of the finest athletes in the men’s game.
Vivacity: Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo
We delight in Kevin as an unstoppable force of nature. His zesty intelligent play on court is exhilarating for spectators and often overwhelming for opponents. His expertise at reading the game gives him stellar anticipation and fused with his technical ability, it’s not hard to see why he and Marcus Gideon have been World #1 for so long. I love his high-speed reactions, his ambition and his imaginative vision.Embed from Getty Images
Bullet Proof: Kento Momota
Momota’s will to win, his unflappable demeanour and apparently unlimited stamina have all driven him on to the top of many podiums. On court he is economic with his emotions and strategy but his relentless return of the shuttle breaks his rivals resolve and often exposes their lack of ideas. Over the years he has overcome so many hurdles that his invincible aura just becomes brighter and brighter. He is an awesome athlete who plays with speed and accuracy and deserves his World #1 status.
Speed: Anthony or Yuta?
Intuitively I’d always choose Anthony Ginting in this category – his effortless, flowing movement is so classy and quick. His fleet-footed style dovetails nicely with his silky racket skills too…however I ran a Twitter poll a few weeks ago and some fan’s answers made me reconsider a little especially Mia Wenas who suggested Yuta Watanabe. Comparing singles and doubles players is tricky but Yuta’s court coverage and agile movement is hard to equal. I always think he wears a shirt that looks too big and this disguises his movement somewhat. He is one of the few players who can face Kevin over a net as an equal and so because of that he has to be recognised here.
100% Legend: Hendra Setiawan
Nobody wins all the major titles in their sport by chance: Hendra is an icon of the game. His calm demeanour under pressure, his quick-witted strategic assessments on court and his extravagant skills at the net make him a truly wonderful player. His humble response to compliments and victories are the mark of a real gentleman. A badminton role model worldwide.
Street Fighting Man: Anders Antonsen
Antonsen has stepped up a level in the past couple of years; like all elite badminton players his technical skills are superb but what I really like about him is that he is a resourceful scrapper. Many were shocked by his somewhat controversial tactics when winning against Viktor Axelsen at the World Tour Finals back in January. His energy conserving strategy of conceding the second set was daring and ultimately successful; it took a ton of confidence to risk everything for the title but his gamble worked.
Firepower: Praveen Jordan or Viktor Axelsen
Probably the two hardest-hitters in the game but that does not do either man’s game justice. I’m fascinated to see what these two competitors can achieve at the Tokyo Olympics – they have a realistic chance of Gold but power alone does not win badminton matches.
I’ve really enjoyed trying to nail down the charactersitics of a Gold Medal player but this was just for fun. I’m sure that on another day I may’ve found room for Jonathan Christie, CHOU Tien Chen or SHI Yuqi. It’s hardly fair to single out players without mentioning their partners if they are from the doubles sector so don’t take this too seriously. Comments are welcome.
If you enjoyed this then take a look at Part 1 where I looked at the women’s game https://womensbadminton.co.uk/2021/04/30/my-perfect-badminton-player/
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