Anders Antonsen was born on April 27, 1997, in Aarhus, Denmark. He is best known for winning many championships in his young career. These include the 2021 European Championships and the 2019 Minsk European Games. He’s a member of the Denmark national team, having won several championships with them. He first became prominent in 2015 when he won the gold medal at the European Junior Championships.
Antonsen currently holds nine gold medals, three silvers, and five bronzes. He is ranked among the top badminton players in the world, peaking as the second-ranked player on September 27, 2022. His position as second lasted for nearly a month. Currently, he has a record of 254 wins and 83 losses, a 75% win rate in professional badminton.
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Early Life, Upbringing, and Badminton Beginnings
Antonsen was exposed to badminton at a young age, mainly due to his father. He and his brother, Kasper, spent time hanging around badminton clubs in Denmark, where their father worked. Eventually, their father began teaching them the sport alongside some club-goers and staff in the area. With an environment that rewarded them for playing and succeeding, the brothers honed their craft.
In 2003 at the age of six, Antonsen began his professional career as a badminton player, entering tournaments in Denmark. One of his first matches was held at the district Viby J in his hometown. Soon after, he transitioned into professional coaching, as he desired to compete internationally. He was set on a career in the sport and began training in Denmark under Kenneth Jonassen.
Jonassen is also a Danish badminton player ranked among the top singles players of his era. During the early 2000s, he won numerous national and international titles. His notable achievements came later in his career when he won the 2003 Korean Open and the 2004 Singapore Open. He was also the gold medalist at the 2008 European Badminton Championships.
With an experienced and successful veteran coaching him, Antonsen would learn the ins and outs of professional play. One of the things that he benefited the most from in training was the professional perspective. Having a coach helped him realize his mistakes and improve upon them before they become problems. It was easy for people to learn at a young age and adapt to their environment.
Antonsen also often trained with his brother, who motivated him to become better. Even as his professional career started, most of his activities off the court were related to it. He has a true passion for the sport, and one sees it in how he approaches his career.
Recently, he announced that he would be shifting his base of operations to Dubai. He mentioned that it would be the best step for him, allowing for easy access to a team of experts who can support him during his career.
He also cites Viktor Axelsen as one of his biggest inspirations, and that a new environment can challenge him to get better at badminton. Antonsen is also open to training in other countries, particularly in Asia where many top competitors reside.
Antonsen has a fast-paced and relentless playing style where he focuses on attacking from his opponent’s weak angles. He uses a combination of drop shots and lifts to try and make his opponent move around the court more. Unlike other players, Antonsen doesn’t smash a lot, preferring to do it when he feels he can make hits accurately. As such, he focuses a lot on making sure that he hits the shuttlecock the way he wants it to go.
According to him, he gets a lot of inspiration from legends that have come before him. He cited many Denmark professionals as his role models. He also mentioned that he takes a measured approach to improvement. Most of the time, he watches tapes of his matches, sees how he performs, and learns how to improve from there.
In an interview, he mentioned that he enjoys watching himself play and loves breaking down how he can improve. His signature shot is a fake drop, where he purposefully misses a high drop shot, turning it into a strong backhand instead. It’s a move that takes a lot of practice to perfect.
Many people quote Antonsen for his desire to win championships and become the top-ranked player in the world. Here are some of his memorable quotes from interviews over the years:
- “I’m the next one.” — Antonsen stated his confidence in reaching the top spot after winning the 2016 Scottish Open Grand Prix.
- “The big goal is definitely to win the gold medal. That has been a dream of mine since I started playing badminton.” — An interview during his first tournament where he won a gold medal.
- “I enjoy watching my matches and learning from them. When I play well that just gives me this joy and I like it.” — During an interview, talking about his training regiment.
Off the Court
Antonsen would later develop friendships with many Danish badminton players. One of his closest friends is Hans-Kristian Vittinghus, who he played with as a member of the Denmark team. The two host a podcast called “The Badminton Experience,” where they talk about everything related to the sport. It includes technical aspects, players, and even Q&A Sessions. The two have also invited other professional players for interviews, including Lee Zii Jia, Greysia Polii, and Peter Gade.
Aside from his podcast, he also has an interest in content creation. He created a YouTube channel that serves more as a vlog of his life. He mainly showcases some days of training and tours as a professional badminton player. It has led to success, with him getting over 100,000 subscribers in 2022.
Antonsen is still at a young age and doesn’t have any businesses yet. There have been no signs of him pursuing these endeavors, except for managing his YouTube channel. He does have a sponsorship with the VICTOR badminton gear brand, and his favorite racket to use is the Auraspeed 98K which is a racket for players who prioritizes accuracy and power. He does not have any signature rackets yet to his name.
Antonsen is not known to be a controversial player though there was some controversy surrounding his 2020 BWF World Tour Finals win. He defeated Viktor Axelsen with superior planning but noticeably dropped the second round to rest up for the final one. Anders later admitted to doing it as a part of the strategy. No rules forbid this type of play, and Antonsen wanted a way to secure his route to the gold medal, which he got.
He is also single, and there have been no rumored relationships on his end. There have been pictures of him seen with other women, but they’re gatherings among professional players.
Antonsen only attended a few days of high school before deciding it wasn’t the environment he wanted to be in. He approached his father with a desire to pursue a professional career. His father accepted, seeing that he was already performing well. In 2013, he made his first international appearance at the Forza Denmark International tournament.
After two years of rigorous training, Antonsen achieved a highly successful year in 2015. He was awarded the European Young Player of the Year after winning several tournaments. These include the Irish Open, Belgian International, and Dutch International. One of his biggest wins that year was the European Junior Championship, where he won against Max Weisskirchen in the final.
The wins quickly established him as one of the best players in the world, creating a lot of attention for the former up-and-comer. The following year, he won the Scottish Open Grand Prix, his first Grand Prix win. He also won several tournaments that year, continuing his trajectory. Some of his victories in the year included the Swedish Master, Spanish International, and Austrian Open.
Path to the National Team
In 2017, Antonsen went on a European Championship run, battling in the finals against Rajiv Ouseph, to whom he lost. He began competing in tournaments that high-ranked players frequented, reached the semifinals of two Super Series tournaments and competed in the French Open. There, he was eliminated by Kenta Nishimoto. He also battled in the Hong Kong Open, losing against gold medalist Chen Long.
The losses motivated him to continue his training, ranking highly in several tournaments. He would go on to win the National Championships, representing Aarhus AB in 2017. It would be a title he would hold on to for two more defenses before placing his focus on international competition.
In 2018, he made his debut with the Danish team as a part of the Thomas Cup, where he helped them win the bronze medal. Since there were only a few high-ranking Danish players on the team, Antonsen’s achievements were enough to qualify him to play for his country.
Following the Thomas Cup, he competed in the Denmark Open Super 750, reaching the semifinals before falling to Chou Tien Chen. In 2019, Antonsen won the Indonesian Masters against Kento Momota, ranked at the top of global rankings. Success followed him that year, as he also got gold at the 2019 Minsk European Games, defeating French player Brice Leverdez.
Later in the year, he competed in the Indonesia Open, reaching the finals, where he lost against Chou Tien Chen. Following that appearance, he got a silver medal in the 2019 World Championships. Kento Momota bested him as the Japanese player defended his title.
In 2020, Antonsen competed against Viktor Axelsen, defeating him in the BWF World Tour Finals. He followed that up by joining the Danish team at the European Mixed Team Championships the following year. Antonsen helped them win gold and won another at the European Championship, where he competed and became the singles champion. He did not compete in the finals here because his opponent Viktor Axelsen had to withdraw from the tournament due to contracting COVID-19.
In 2021, Antonsen competed in the 2021 World Championships, earning bronze after getting defeated by Loh Kean Yew. Yew would eventually become the champion at the tournament. It didn’t last, as he got his revenge in the first round of the 2022 All England Open. However, he was later eliminated by Lakshya Sen.
Later in the year, he competed in the European Championships, reaching the finals to battle Viktor Axelsen. He lost in straight games. He was not in his best form during the finals, admitting that he needed to work on many things surrounding his game.
After the championships, Antonsen revealed that he had sustained an injury and would not play in Asian tournaments for the rest of the year. The games had led him to injure his right chest, which would prevent him from using the racket with force. It was an injury he got before but sustained it again due to aggressive play.
In terms of his playing career, he has two rivals he has faced in championship situations multiple times. The first is fellow Danish player Viktor Axelsen. He’s won against Axelsen two times and lost twice in finals battles, leaving them at an even 50%. The next rival would be Japanese player Kento Momota, whom he has also faced in championship games three times. He’s only won once against the Japanese player and former number one player.
For now, he’s been focusing on recovering and his YouTube content. He also plans to move his training and preparations to Dubai, where he can have more opportunities to grow.
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