Wednesday, April 12, 2023
TEXT BY BWF STAFF | BADMINTONPHOTO
The first quarter of the year might have thrown up some concerns for Viktor Axelsen given his imperious form of the last two seasons, but the Dane did achieve a landmark atop the BWF World Rankings.
The latest rankings saw him enter his 123rd week as world No.1, higher than any other active men’s singles player. Last week he’d overtaken Kento Momota’s 121-week reign from September 2018 to November 2021 as world No.1 – although the Japanese did enjoy an unbroken stint during that period.
Axelsen’s first stint as No.1 lasted a year after he’d won his first World Championships in 2017, before he slipped briefly to No.7. Having become near-invincible in 2021, the Dane climbed to No.1 once again in December 2021 and hasn’t relinquished the top spot since, and is in his 72nd consecutive week as that position.
Axelsen’s form might have wavered this year, but his outstanding form in the 52-week ranking period, in which he won seven titles, has seen him accumulate 108,206 points, over 30,000 points ahead of Anthony Sinisuka Ginting, who achieved his highest rank of No.2 this week. The Indonesian moved up a spot from No.3, swapping places with compatriot Jonatan Christie.
Just as impressive was Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong’s domination of mixed doubles. The Chinese duo have now entered their 157th week as No.1. Their current stint started in December 2022, but they’d first hit the top spot in August 2018 and spent 129 consecutive weeks there.
Huang Dong Ping, Olympic champion in mixed doubles, occupies two spots in the top 10 with different partners. While she is No.3 with Wang Yi Lyu, her recent performances with Feng Yan Zhe have seen them climb to No.7.
China’s upcoming players have made significant gains this season. Chen Bo Yang/Liu Yi, winners at the Ruichang China Masters and at the Orleans Masters, have climbed 28 spots to No.53 in men’s doubles, while women’s doubles prodigy Liu Sheng Shu shot up 22 places to No.57 with Tan Ning after winning the Madrid Spain Masters and finishing runners-up in Orleans.