Tai Tzu Ying is one of the best badminton players in the world. Born on June 20, 1994, in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, she represents Chinese Taipei in international competitions. At 22, she achieved the world’s number one ranking in the women’s singles badminton category and held the title from December 2016 to August 2022. That makes her the longest-standing top-ranking female badminton player of all time
Tai Tzu Ying is known for her swift and aggressive playing style, which has given her the nicknames “Badminton Queen” and “Genius Girl.” She has won numerous titles in international tournaments, including the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour Finals, Asian Games, All England Open, and more. As of December 2022, she was the second-ranked female badminton player in the world.
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Tai Tzu Ying had an early introduction to the sport of badminton. She was born to badminton player parents and began to learn and practice badminton seriously in the third grade. She trained under the tutelage of her father, who was a former director for the Kaohsiung badminton committee.
In sixth grade, she joined the national ranking tournament and won the title in the second national division. This earned her the right to enter the first national division games, making her the youngest player in Taiwan’s badminton history to participate in the first division.
In 2007, Tai started competing in international tournaments and debuted at the 2007 Vietnam International. Two years later, she participated in the Asian Junior Championships held in Malaysia and won second place. She also won the silver medal in the Vietnam Open. In the same year, she represented Chinese Taipei at the East Asian Games and won a bronze medal in the women’s singles event, helping her team to take the overall silver medal for the competition.
In 2010, she participated in the Super Series event at the Korea Open. She also competed in the World Junior Championships, reaching the quarter-finals but unfortunately having to retire early due to an injury. In June 2010, Tai reached the Super Series finals in the Singapore Open but lost to India’s Saina Nehwal.
When asked about her most memorable achievements, she mentioned, “2011 Yonex OCBC US Open Grand Prix Gold Champion, 2010 Li-Ning Singapore Open (World Super Series) — it’s my first World Super Series final, and the final was my birthday. The audience(s) collectively gave me their wishes when I entered the court. That is the most memorable experience I have had in the sport so far.”
Career as a Professional Athlete
Tai Tzu Ying’s career as a professional athlete has been remarkable. She started to compete in professional badminton tournaments at a young age, but her early entry into professional badminton was just the beginning.
Her First International Medal: 2011 US Grand Prix Gold
In July 2011, Tai competed in the US Open, where she beat Lu Lan in the quarter-finals. She reached the finals and won against Sayaka Sato. This was her first international medal at the age of 17.
In the same year, Tai competed in many other international tournaments. She won against Zhu Lin in the first round of the Australian Open and defeated Wang Xin in the first round of the Indonesia Open. In the French Open, she beat Wang Yihan in the quarter-finals and reached the semifinals but lost to China’s Li Xue Rui.
At a young age, Tai Tzu Ying beat many of her senior players who were also top-ranking badminton players. These victories helped her to gain recognition in the badminton world.
The First Youngest Player to Win a Super Series Title
In 2012, Tai competed in the Japan Open and won her first Super Series title, making her the youngest player in the world to win a Super Series title in the history of badminton.
Now, following Ratchanok Intanon’s win in the 2013 India Open and Akane Yamaguchi’s win in the 2013 Japan Open, Tai Tzu Ying is the third youngest player to have won the Super Series.
Her First Asian Games
In 2014, Tai participated in the Asian Games and won a bronze medal in the women’s singles event. This was her first Asian Games medal, which meant that she had achieved success on both international and continental levels.
Her Second Super Series Win
In December 2014, Tai Tzu Ying won her second Super Series title at the BWF Super Series Finals in Dubai. She defeated Korea’s Sung Jihyun in the final and won Taiwan its first Super Series title in women’s singles.
Her First World No. 1 and Third Super Series Win
In 2016, Tai was making history. She reached the finals in the Indonesia Open and Hong Kong Open. This earned her enough points to become the World No. 1 ranking in women’s badminton, a first in her career. She also won her second Super Series title in Dubai, making history as the first women’s singles player to win the gold in the Super Series Finals three times.
Badminton at the 2017 Summer Universiade
In 2017, the BWF World Championships in Glasgow coincided with the 2017 Summer Universiade in Taipei. Tai decided to compete in the Universiade instead of the World Championships to show her support for her home country. The Summer Universiade was the most significant international sporting competition ever held in Taiwan other than the Olympic Games.
She won gold in the women’s singles tournament and received a commendation from the president of Taiwan for her decision to stay in Taiwan. She was also awarded a Special Contribution Award in the 2017 Sports Elite Awards.
Her Fourth and Fifth Consecutive Super Series Win
In March 2017, Tai competed in the All England Open and beat Ratchanok Intanon to win her first title in the event. In April, she won gold medals in the Malaysia Open and Singapore Open, her fourth and fifth consecutive Super Series titles, respectively.
Taiwan’s First Badminton Asia Championships Gold Medal
Tai won her sixth consecutive title at the Asian Championships in Wuhan, China, which was also Taiwan’s first gold medal in this event.
The 2018 BWF World Championships and Earning the Highest Points
In the BWF World Championships in 2018, Tai beat USA’s Beiwen Zhang in the third round. That win is her 31st consecutive win, breaking the record for the longest winning streak in badminton history. She eventually lost to China’s He Bing Jiao in the next round.
After winning the 2018 Denmark Open, her ranking points increased to 101,517 points, making her the second women’s singles player ever to reach 100,000 points. She ranked second in the 2018 French Open and reached 101,667, the highest points a women’s singles player has ever achieved.
BWF’s Female Player of the Year 2020–2021
Because of Tai’s countless feats in badminton, BWF named her 2020/2021’s Female Player of the Year along with Viktor Axelsen as the Male Player of the Year. Out of hundreds of female competitors for the title, Tai’s impressive track record and impeccable sportsmanship stood out.
Tai’s win in the YONEX All England 2020, sweeping all three finals of the BWF competition leg, and securing the gold medal in the 2020 BWF World Tour Finals, were some of the significant factors which secured her spot as the Female Player of the Year.
“I’m a badminton player who’s been breaking records since childhood.“
Despite her young age, Tai Tzu Ying has been breaking records and setting history as a talented athlete. Listed below are some of her notable achievements in women’s badminton.
First Silver Medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics
Probably one of the most significant milestones of her career, Tai Tzu Ying notched her first Olympic silver medal at age 26 during Japan’s 2020 Summer Olympic Games. However, this is not the first time Tai competed in the internationally renowned competition.
Tai Tzu Ying first competed in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil, where she was eliminated during the 16th round for both seasons.
14 Gold Medals in the BWF World Tour
As a consistent BWF competitor, Tai Tzu Ying was able to secure 14 gold medals from 2018 to 2022. During the 2018 BWF World Tour, Tai won six gold medals back-to-back. She even finished first in the 2020 BWF World Tour Finals and placed second in the 2019 and 2022 BWF World Tour Finals.
12 Gold Medals BWF Super Series
Similar to the other BWF tournaments she competed in, Tai swept the floor in the BWF Super Series. From 2010 to 2017, Tai secured 12 gold medals and six runner-up titles from the competition. Tai was also the named winner in the 2014 and 2016 Dubai World Super Series Finals.
Back-to-Back Finalist in the BWF World Championships
Because of her consistent wins in the other BWF competitions, Tai eventually landed a spot as a finalist in the BWF World Championship. She finished with a silver medal in the 2021 BWF World Championships held in Spain and a bronze medal in the 2022 BWF World Championships held in Japan — back-to-back wins.
Two Gold Medals in the Asian Championships
The Badminton Asia Championships is a prestigious sports competition in Asia. In 2015, Tai Tzu Ying won a bronze medal; in 2017 and 2018, she eventually won two gold medals in the tournament. This is her most successful run in the Asian Championships.
Two Medals in the Asian Games
The Asian Games is another renowned multi-sports competition held in various countries in Asia. Since competing in the 2010 Asian Games, Tai Tzu Ying won two medals, a gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games held in Indonesia and a bronze medal in the 2014 Asian Games held in South Korea.
Tai Tzu Ying’s incredible track record on the world stage inspires countless other aspiring badminton players. Through hard work and determination, these milestones prove that she is one of the best female athletes in badminton.
Adventurous and spontaneous are two words that best describe Tai’s playing style. Tai admitted that she doesn’t strictly follow a specific playing style; instead, she uses her wits and strategic moves to outplay her opponents. Her unpredictable and daring shots make it difficult for her competitors to keep up with her pace, eventually leading to a win.
Tai has a powerful backhand paired with long-lasting stamina and agile movements, allowing her to hit the shuttle even at questionable angles. This puts her opponents in a tricky situation as they struggle to come up with strategies that can counter Tai’s unpredictable playing style.
Her Personal Racket: Victor Thruster F Claw (Tai Tzu Ying) Badminton Racket
Tai Tzu Ying has long favored the Victor Thruster F badminton racket. Her successful career brought a lot of attention to the brand, and they eventually released an updated model of the Thruster F family, the Victor Thruster F Claw.
With the new model’s release, the brand also produced a special edition of their most recent racket named and explicitly made for Tai. The Victor Thruster F Claw (Tai Tzu Ying) features a rebound shield, which enhances a user’s hitting performance by improving the net’s elasticity and the grip’s handling feedback.
The Yonex Controversy
During the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil, Tai was involved in a controversy with the competition’s primary sponsor, Yonex. According to several news reports, Tai didn’t wear the shoes provided by the Olympic sponsor, which angered the authorities as this was a violation of the participant’s contract.
The Chinese-Taipei Badminton Association (CTBA) threatened to punish Tai with legal sanctions due to her actions. In a separate interview, Tai revealed that the shoe provided by the sponsor was not made for her size.
According to the leading female badminton player, she had already agreed to wear the shoes but found them too small when they were delivered. She practiced with the shoes on, which caused her feet to bleed and blister. During the game, she decided to use a custom-made shoe from her personal sponsor, Victor.
Despite the controversy, Tai still competed in future Olympic games and won her first silver medal during the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Tai’s success in badminton was not achieved overnight. It was the result of years of hard work and determination that made her one of the world’s most successful female badminton players. With an unpredictable playing style, she continues to surprise and amaze her competitors with her agility on the court.
Although Tai has faced several controversies during her career, none have deterred her from participating and succeeding in future tournaments. Her resilience and strength have served as an inspiration for countless aspiring badminton players around the world.
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