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Best women`s singles player ever in badminton

I actually never really followed the women`s singles discipline in Badminton for a long time. I always preferred the men`s game. And on top of there was a huge China domination until a few years ago, which seemed to make it boring. Now I regret not having followed it closely from the beginning.

It actually needed Ratchanok Intanon to change my mind. Her magical and sensational victory over Li Xuerui in the World Championships 2013 got me hooked. And now I love this discipline of Badminton. Not only is it spectacular to watch with a huge variety of playing styles and countries involved. It`s no longer just China. Korea, Thailand, Spain, India, Japan, Chinese Taipeh…all in the mix and able to achieve medal level results.

And let`s not forget, there are some gorgeous badminton players out there, who are very easy on the eye. Check out this posting and you`ll know what I mean: Most beautiful badminton players

But now let`s start with the ranking of the

Best women`s singles players ever in the beautiful Badminton sport

15. Nozomi Okuhara

Participated in the longest World Championship final ever in 2017 against PV Sindhu and managed to win this spectacular and exhausting encounter. Amazing spirit.

Greatest achievements: World Champion 2017, Olympic Bronze medal 2016, All England Champion 2015
Strength: Very quick and agile, few unforced errors
Weakness: Not the best reach and no winning shot, both due to her height


14. Pusarla V Sindhu

Best womens singles player ever in badminton - PV Sindhu [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The tall Indian badminton superstar seems to be ending up as runner-up very often. For example in the two most important matches of her career so far: The Olympic Gold medal match 2016 in Rio against Carolina Marin and the World Championship Final 2017 against Okuhara. You could talk about missing mental strength now, but I don`t see it that way. Her opponents simply were just a little better at the time and deserved to win. However, Sindhu is still young and evolving her game. She will eventually win big titles, I`m sure of that.

Greatest achievements: Silver medal at Olympic Games and World Championships
Strength: Great reach, work ethics, never give-up attitude
Weakness: Moves very well for such a tall athlete, but still worse than her competition


13. Tine Baun (Denmark)

Very strong player from Denmark, mostly remembered for winning the All England Chmapionships three times. Actually her last match was the final in Birmingham against Ratchanok Intanon and she won. What an amazing time to say Good Bye.

Greatest achievements: Won the All England Championships three times, most notable her victory in Birmingham 2013 in her last tournament ever. Defeated Ratchanok Intanon in the final. What a way to finish a career.
Strength: Very strong and powerful, hard-hitter
Weakness: Not that consisting and injury-prone


12. Akane Yamaguchi

The Japanese pocket rocket is just astonishing. Very small in height, but huge in badminton. The missing reach she makes up with incredible speed, movement and stamina. She is so quick that she is forced to play a backhand about once a year. I always have to look away, when she bends her back to use the forehand…but it works.

Greatest achievements: First Japanese Badminton player to top the BWF women`s singles ranking, won several Super Series tournaments.
Strength: Movement of course, good netplay, monster spirit
Weakness: The raech of course and lack of angle shots


11. Li Xuerui (China)

One of China`s great womens singles players. She is not the last one in this ranking.

Greatest achievements: Olympic gold medal in London 2012, an incredible number of 14 Super Series titles
Strength: Typical Chinese playing style, very athletic and good allround game
Weakness: Unfortunately very injury-prone, this cost her another Olympic medal


10. Ratchanok Intanon (Thailand)

Best womens singles player ever in badminton
Pierre-Yves Beaudouin [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons
What a beauty, especially on court in her nice badminton dresses. And always polite and smiling. Not to forget that smooth playing style. I love watching her play, one of my favourite players of all time already. If only she would live up to her potential more often.

Greatest achievements: World champion 2013 (youngest single world champion ever, aged 18), Asian championship winner 2015
Strength: Pure talent, easy & relaxed hitting style
Weakness: Very inconsistent, not the most powerful player


9. Camilla Martin (Denmark)

Ex- girlfriend of Peter Gade and very famous in her days, because beside her strong Badminton skills she is a real looker! Works as a football commentator on Danish TV nowadays.

Greatest achievements: Won everything, but Olympic Gold. Ended up with a silver medal in Sydney 2000. Not bad either.
Strength: Incredible fighting spirit and determination on court, never gave up
Weakness: Not as quick as the Asian competition


8. Xie Xingfang (China)

Dominated the late “2000s” along with Zhang Ning, they pretty much won everything of importance. Is actually Lin Dan`s wife now.

Greatest achievements: Olympic silver medal 2008, two-time world champion in 2005 and 2006
Strength: Perfect reach, quick reactions and mentally very strong.
Weakness: Very straight-forward game, not many surprise elements deceptions.


7. Carolina Marin (Spain)

Carolina Marin Badminton
Juancamartos [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons
The Spanish badminton player is one of the most successful ladies of all time already and still has much time left to add to her tally. The left-hander is not the most elegant player, but tactically very astute and she knows how to use the lefty advantage. She often tries to play mind games, which seem to work.

Greatest achievements: Olympic champion 2016, 3x World Champion
Strength: She`s a lefty, always dangerous. Very fierce opponent on court, tactically very astute
Weakness: Not the smoothest technique or elegance, all hard work


6. Mia Audina (Indonesia/Netherlands)

Very elegant and smooth playing style (the trait of Indonesian badminton)

Greatest achievements: Two-time silver medal at Olympic games
Strength: Perfect technique, deception
Weakness: Not in perfect physical shape all the time


5. Wang Yihan (China)

Very beautiful badminton girl I must say. And won of the most successful players of all time, 30 titles actually.

Greatest achievements: Olympic silver medal in London 2012, World champion 2011
Strength: Another Chinese player with a typical playing style using power, speed and fitness
Weakness: Hm, creativity maybe


4. Tai Tzu Ying (Chinese Taipeh)

I know, she hasn`t even won the biggest titles, yet. But for me it`s not just about the resume, it is the level of play. And Tai Tzu Ying`s level is just amazing. She simply has it all. Movement, speed, consistency, power, feel and deceiption.

Greatest achievements: No major tournaments yet, if you don`t count All England. She did not participate in World Championships 2017 by her own choice. This would have been a huge opportunity. But nonetheless she dominates the women`s singles in Badminton since 2017 like hardly anyone before.
Strength: Made herself very fit and it paid out, her deceiptions are incredible
Weakness: Sometimes too playful, which leads to unforced errors


3. Li Lingwei (China)

Dominated the Badminton world in the 80s, not just in women`s singles, but in Doubles as well with Han Aiping. Never had the opportunity to win an Olympic medal, because she retired in 1989 and Badminton became an Olympic discipline only in 1992.

Greatest achievements: World champion in singles and doubles, multipl e Grand Prix tournaments
Strength: Very good allround game, although the net game certainly stood out.
Weakness: Not really.


2. Susi Susanti (Indonesia)

Indonesian Badminton legend! And actually married to another Badminton legend, Alan Budikusuma. Both won Olympic Gold in Barcelona 1992.

Greatest achievements: Olympic gold medal, World champion 1993, four-time All England champion, five-time Indonesian Open champion
Strength: Typical Indonesian playing style, very quick on court and outstandingly elegant, very nice to watch, perfect technique
Weakness: Very short in height, so no good reach. But does it really matter in Badminton?


1. Zhang Ning (China)

Zhang Ning
Tksteven [CC BY-SA 2.5], from Wikimedia Commons
Very beautiful woman nowadays, and in my opinion the best female badminton player ever. Dominated the first decade like never seen before.

Greatest achievements: She won it all, but two Olympic gold medals back to back in 2004 and 2008 certainly stand out
Strength: Very tall, good reach
Weakness: Hm, mabye movement


If you have any thoughts about this ranking of the best female badminton players ever, feel free to leave a comment!



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  1. Wrong and bias analysis..PV Sindhu has 5 World Championship Medals equal to the legendary ZHANG NING so her consistency in Major Tournament is second to none.

    She has all the major Tittles (World Tour finals,World Championship) just missing an Olympic which she can win an even if not her Olympic Silver itself is a testimony to what a great player she is…whereas poor players like so called No.1 like Tai Tzu Ying who are struggling to get their frist Major Bronze let alone the Gold and tittle itself.

    You need to upgrade your rankings sir.

    1. I can see your point. But unlike you I am neither from India nor Chinese Taipeh. So I might be less biased then you 😉 Anyway, yes Sindhu has more major medals then Tai Tzu Ying. But until two weeks ago PV Sindhu was like the eternal runner-up for me. The girl from Taipeh dominated the BWF World Tour for three years now and has clearly the highest level of play, when she is at her best. And as far as I remember Tai leads the Head To Head against Sindhu 10:5. So no bias here!

  2. Thank you Setiawan071.

    Not often do I see this point of view represented. Usually, people only focus on medals, saying:

    “Yeah, this player is good but…they don’t have an Olympic Gold or a World Championship Gold.”

    Apparently, if you do not win those, you are not good enough.

    Skill, talent and demonstrated ability seem not to matter; neither does everything that player has accomplished.

    I truly wish greatness was quantifiable

  3. what the actual fuck the third generation badminton players like akane , nozomi, shindu, tai tzu ying , rathanokand marin are way better than those player playing from the 1990s like common whoever who doest know badminton this is a bias one and it is mostly wrong

  4. How can u forget saina nehwal,, she is legend, she herself has 2 world Championship medals and bronze in olympics, u can’t deny the fact that Only saina nehwal was there(2008-2014) who was giving tough competition to all the Chinese players and was always among the top player, since Carolina, Ratchnok, Tai tzu sung ji hyun they came very late to destroy the Chinese wall but saina is a foundation who broked the Chinese wall, she herself being in top 5 for 4-5 years consistently among Chinese and it is not that easy u know this,so it is enough to tell what she has done

    1. Hi Vishal, thank you for your comment. Yes, Saina Nehwal was one of the first to offer at least some resistance to the Chinese wall. And she was quite successful. I guess the reason for not putting her in the ranking of best womens badminton players is the lack of a major title (Olympic or World Champion). Additionally I didn`t really like her style. It`s probably a matter of personal taste. Maybe I will add her to the list.

        1. Yes, that is true. But for me it is not just about titles. You always need a little bit of luck to have the right form on the right day. For example the English mens doubles players Ellis and Langridge have an Olympic bronze medal, while the great Mohamad Ahsan has none and will probably never have. That doesnt change the fact, that he is a way better player.

          And Tai Tzu Yings level of play when she is on, is just breathtaking and beutiful to watch.

  5. In my opinion marin should be in top 5 atlest .
    1. Jhang ning
    2. Susi susanti
    3. Mia audina
    4. Carolina marin
    5. Xie xinfang
    6 . Camila martin
    7. Wang yihan
    8. Li xuerui
    9. Tai tzu ying
    10 PV Sindhu
    11. Nozomi Okuhara
    12. Ratchanok Intanon
    13.Saina nehwal
    14. Wang xin
    15. Wang shixian

  6. Why is there no players before Susi Susanti on this list?

    What about Lene Köppen?
    First female world champion in 1977
    2 times all england winner and 2 times runner up
    Won 19 international tournaments and 8 times runner up
    Numerous WD and MD victories

    1. Hi Jesper, thank you for your comment. You are probably right and Lene Köppen should be in a list of the top womens singles players of all times. But the thing is, I have never seen her play, because it was just too long ago. And I only want to judge players I have actually seen on court.

  7. Li Lingwei and Han Ai Ping should also be in discussion because they dominated the 80s in women badminton singles. Susi Susanti was very consistent and metronomic in style and would have beaten many good players today and yet she was often eclipsed by the former players mentioned.

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