Smashing Stats: All England 2023

Badminton’s oldest and biggest competition starts today in Birmingham.

Here are some fascinating facts about it.


  • Inaugural edition in 1899 only consisted doubles events; singles were introduced a year later.
  • Sir George Thomas is the most successful athlete with 21 championships (nine in men’s doubles, eight mixed doubles, four men’s singles).
  • Frank Devlin was the earliest non-English winner. The Irishman took men’s doubles (with England’s Guy Sautter) in 1922 and won on another 17 occasions. He sits second on the all-time list behind Thomas.
  • Record for consecutive titles belongs to Indonesian men’s singles icon Rudy Hartono – seven (1968-1974).
  • No athlete has more singles crowns than American Judy Devlin. Ten is her magic number.


  • This is the first edition since 2017 to feature defending champions in all five categories.
  • Mixed pair Nathan Robertson/Gail Emms remain the final home shuttlers to be victorious (2005).
  • Doubles legend Gao Ling is the most decorated with 11 wins.
  • Li Yongbo/Tian Bingyi are the last men’s pair to finish victors three times (1987, 1988, 1991).
  • Having won in 2014 and 2019, Hendra Setiawan/Mohammad Ahsan can equal their achievements.
  • Despite Indonesia’s pedigree, they have not toasted a men’s singles champion for 29 years. Hariyanto Arbi in 1994 was the previous one to come good. Seeds Jonatan Christie (2) and Anthony Sinisuka Ginting (3) lead their charge in 2023.
  • Men’s doubles is also the department China have gone the longest without winning, after Liu Xiaolong/Qiu Zihan in 2013. They have a seeded pair – Liu Yu Chen/Ou Xuan Yi (5) – as well as the up-and-coming recent India Open winners Liang Wei Keng/Wang Chang to rely on.
  • Malaysia, meanwhile, have not had success in doubles discipline after Kien Keat Koo/Tan Boon Heong in 2007.
  • Their best chance of ending that drought is also in men’s doubles, where they have seeded pairs Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik (2) and Ong Yew Sin/Teo Ee Yi (8).
  • Malaysia have also never celebrated a women’s doubles titlists but the fifth-seeded pair of Tan Pearly/Thinaah Muralitharan’s two HSBC BWF World Tour crowns came in Europe (Swiss Open 2021, French Open 2022).
  • Viktor Axelsen stands to become the first back-to-back men’s singles king since Lee Chong Wei in 2011. It is the longest category not to see a holder defend his title.
  • Axelsen has played the last four title matches, winning in 2020 and 2022.
  • Women’s singles third seed Tai Tzu Ying could achieve a fourth victory. Malaysian icon Lee was the most recent to do it in 2017.
  • Bang Soo Hyun (1996) is the last Korean to take women’s singles. This year, in second seed An Se Young, they possess a player in form.
  • Japan are the sole nation to ace at least one event at every edition starting 2018.
  • Nami Matsuyama/Chiharu Shida can be the first Japanese women’s pair in half a century to retain their prize. Machiko Aizawa/Etsuko Takenaka completed their double in 1973.
  • Yuta Watanabe, who has two men’s doubles and three mixed doubles gold medals, can occupy the top step of the podium for the sixth time. The last shuttler to do so was the great Lin Dan in 2016.
  • A mixed doubles title defence for Watanabe and Arisa Higashino will mean matching Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir – the latest players in any discipline to win three straight times (2012-2014).
  • Their compatriots Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto are the only top seeds without prior triumphs.
  • Former doubles winners who could succeed with new partners are Misaki Matsutomo (with Yuki Kaneko, mixed doubles) and Lee So Hee (Baek Ha Na, women’s doubles). Matsutomo won women’s doubles with Ayaka Takahashi in 2016, Lee with Chang Ye Na the following season.
  • Countries waiting for their maiden All England titlist (s) but have seeded entries are Thailand (men’s and women’s singles, women’s and mixed doubles), Singapore (men’s singles), France (mixed doubles) and Germany (mixed doubles).
  • India have yet to experience jubilation in categories other than men’s singles. Men’s pair Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty (6) are their only seeded entries.
  • Glory will end their 22-year wait for success since Pullela Gopichand became the second Indian after Prakash Padukone to hoist the famous trophy in 2001.
  • Post-Gopichand, just players from Malaysia, China, Japan and Denmark have conquered the field.
  • Women’s doubles goes back further to 1981 – when English pair Nora Perry/Jane Webster finished top of the tree – to crown champions from countries outside Korea, China, Denmark and Japan.

Standout Stat: Either or both Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei contested 14 of the 15 finals between 2004 and 2018.

Lin won the last All England final between the greats in 2012.

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