Best Badminton player ever – Men`s Doubles

Besides power, tactical awareness and a feel for the shuttle, doubles requires teamwork, blind understanding is the key. If that is given, spectacular matches are guaranteed. These are the masters of their trade, the best badminton players ever:

10. Koo Kien Keat (Malaysia)

One of the most spectacular doubles players ever to walk on court. Able to create the most incredible shots. But lacks in concentration and too much playfulness cost him dearly. Way too few titles measured against his talent.

 

  • Smashpower: 85%
  • Net play 90%
  • Deception: 100%
  • Creativity: 95%
  • Stamina: 75%
  • Movement: 85%

 

9. Mohammad Ahsan (Indonesia)

His partnership with Setiawan in 2013-2015 was just great. I had never seen him before and suddenly there was this fantastic player, who played every point with incredible intensity. His movement in the backcourt and especially the variety and angles of his smashes stand out.

  • Smashpower: 100%
  • Net play 90%
  • Deception: 90%
  • Creativity: 95%
  • Stamina: 85%
  • Movement: 95%

 

Additional read: Best badminton player ever in mens singles

 

8. Sigit Budiarto (Indonesia)

The doubles specialist is an Indonesian badminton legend and will always be remembered for his trick shots and deceiption. With his congenial partner Chandra Wijaja he formed the commanding mens doubles team for many years. He also was held back a little by his hang to perform shuttle cock magic. His sheer talent should have brought him more titles, yet he will remain unforgotten due to his playing style.

 

  • Smashpower: 90%
  • Net play 95%
  • Deception: 100%
  • Creativity: 100%
  • Stamina: 85%
  • Movement: 90%

 

7. Fu Haifeng (China)

His net game is limited, but you can`t argue with two consecutive gold medals with two different partners (although I believe both partners were slightly better). Probably the best smash in Badminton ever!

  • Smashpower: 100%
  • Net play 75%
  • Deception: 80%
  • Creativity: 80%
  • Stamina: 100%
  • Movement: 95%

 

Additional read: Current Badminton Stars from Indonesia

 

6. Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (Indonesia)

He is still young, but has to be named here. Because he is just above everyone else at the moment and already on an exceptional level. He provides magic in every single match he plays and has all the skills that an all time great needs. So that`s why I already see him in the top 10 of best badminton doubles players ever.

  • Smashpower: 85%
  • Net play 100%
  • Deception: 100%
  • Creativity: 100%
  • Stamina: 95%
  • Movement: 100%

 

Additional read: Best badminton mixed doubles pair

 

5. Zhang Nan (China)

Not just an icon in mixed doubles, but in men`s doubles as well. Zhang Nan has an almost flawless allround game with no weaknesses and maintains his level for almost a decade now.

  • Smashpower: 85%
  • Net play 100%
  • Deception: 95%
  • Creativity: 95%
  • Stamina: 100%
  • Movement: 100%

 

4. Lee Yong Dae (Korea)

The Korean whizz kid has it all, no weaknesses can be detected. It is most extraordinary that -despite his young age- he is world class in both mens and mixed doubles for years now. Such a player comes along once in a blue moon. His biggest strengths are the almost unbreakable defense, his athletic body and the dominant netplay.

 

  • Smashpower: 85%
  • Net play 100%
  • Deception: 95%
  • Creativity: 95%
  • Stamina: 100%
  • Movement: 100%

 

3. Cai Yun (China)

Olympic gold and silver, several times world champion. Simply effective and totally lethal at the net. Nuff said.

 

  • Smashpower: 90%
  • Net play 100%
  • Deception: 90%
  • Creativity: 95%
  • Stamina: 95%
  • Movement: 100%

 

Additional read: Best badminton mens doubles pair ever

 

2. Tony Gunawan (Indonesia)

He was mens doubles Olympic champion, worldclass for more than a decade and some (not me) say the best front court player of all times. Yet he will be remembered for one thing above all others: Winning the world cup title in 2005 in Anaheim along with the US American Howard Bach. Everyone who knows a little about the badminton sport will be able to judge this outrageous performance for what it was. I want to give credit to Bach, too. His smash was very good and -carried by the thrilled homecrowd- he played the tournament of his lifetime. Nevertheless a good smash is not even remotely enough against the skilled Asian competition. But Tony Gunawan showed everything he had and controlled the net like I had never seen before. A performance beyond belief!

 

  • Smashpower: 90%
  • Net play 100%
  • Deception: 95%
  • Creativity: 100%
  • Stamina: 90%
  • Movement: 95%

 

1. Hendra Setiawan (Indonesia)

Hendra Setiawan best badminton player ever
 By TSportsasia (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 

The net skills of runner-up Gunawan are second only to one man. The coolest, most effective, most lethal and best doubles player of all times. Watching Hendra Setiawan between rallies it is hard to believe was this man is capable of. He appears almost lethargic in rest periods. But as soon as the shuttle is in play he positively explodes and shows breathtaking skills at the net. With his speed, feel for the ball, anticipation and precision he simply is superior to all the other great players out there.
A typical rally in mens doubles badminton lasts quite long since breaking the defense of the top class players needs time and preperation. Setiawan is the only one who seems to be able to end the rally as soon as he gets involved at the net. But it`s not just the front court play that seperates him from the rest. Again and again he manages to turn defense into offense with his clever blocks, where others choose to play the defensive lift. He isn`t the hardest smasher in the game, but he makes up for that with clever shot selection, a clear view and a witty playing style. Do yourself a favour and watch all availabe matches in decent quality on youtube and concentrate on Setiawan. You will know what I mean then. Amazing guy!

 

  • Smashpower: 85%
  • Net play 100%
  • Deception: 100%
  • Creativity: 100%
  • Stamina: 90%
  • Movement: 95%

 

Additional read: Best male badminton player ever in mixed doubles

 

What`s your pick for best mens doubles player ever in Badminton?

7 Comments

  1. cai yun smash power 90%?? this a joke??? lee yong dae weakness is his stamina. 85% smash power for sanjaya is way too generous, closer to 65, his redeeming quality at the back is his quick drop.
    if i were to pick the best MD players, i’d try to imagine a pair of that player in the long run. 2 setiawans would be too weak at the back to consistently win. same for sajaya and cai yun, and possibly koo kien kat. fu haifeng wouldn’t be able to set up his partner consistently to use that power smash, and if they both get greedy at the back they’ll get mixed up a lot.
    my top picks would be tan boon heong, zhang nan and maybe lee yong dae depending on his stamina

    • Thanks for your comment. I always thought Cai Yun had a fairly good smash, of course not as good as his partner. How much would you suggest? 65% for Sukamuljo seems too little to me. Kevin can put the shuttle on the ground.
      I don`t really think it works to say, the player who would make the best pair, if it gave him twice, is the best Doubles player ever. Of course this would favour the best allround players and I would probably prefer Zhang Nan in that scenario. But that`s not how Badminton works. The good pairs all complement each other. Lee Yong Dae for example has lots of trouble getting a smash through defenses from the back. So he needs a strong smash player on his side. And Tan Boon Heong does not belong anywhere near the best players of all time. He had like two good years. I was horrified when he teamed up with Setiawan.

      • i was talking about best all round balance for tan boon, solid defense and attack, can’t think of any real weakness for him. i’d say 65% is fair for kevin, considering how powerful the rest of the players on the circuit is. cai yun had a weak smash, i think cos of some injury, but his all round game other than that is super strong.

        • Hm, I don`t think Tan has a particularly good net play. It`s hard to say, but I don`t think Kevin`s smash is that much slower. When he get`s his body behind the shuttle and puts everything in it, his smashes can penetrate defenses pretty good.

      • another point as well, if you’re talking about the best players complimenting each other then you should probably make the article about best pairs rather than singling out individual players

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