In a truly momentous milestone TAI Tzu Ying has achieved the feat of securing her 500th victory. She’s travelled a long way from the skinny kid winning her first pro match in 2007 to the worldwide icon about to grace her fourth Olympics.
She is badminton’s once-in-a-lifetime star; beloved throughout the world, transcending her sport in the same way that Federer transcends tennis. Dazzling deception is baked into her approach. Her exquisite shots are a shared celebration of her command of the game as her fans provide a soundtrack of delight wherever in the world she plays.
Many people have played a part in shaping her genius – it’s born of years of hard work, unfettered imagination and joy in competition. Looking back to her formative years it was the support of her family that nurtured the spark of brilliance. Her father introduced her to the sport and – as the story goes – took her around the smaller clubs that dot her homeland to take on adults. She couldn’t compete equally in terms of strength, but hated losing, so she had to hone her trickery. Imagine if you had been a club player in Kaohsiung suddenly facing TTY across the net – there must be people in the city who did just this in the early days.
A hand injury suffered when she was thirteen could have been a debilitating setback. Instead, it catalyzed the development of her extraordinary backhand skills. As her father astutely observed, the injury proved to be a blessing in disguise.
TTY’s spontaneous panache on court has been supported by Coach LAI who understands that her flair must be nurtured rather than squashed to fit established playing styles. Her father was key in identifying LAI as a coach on the right wavelength to look after her. The formation of her team – physio, coach, & trainer has been designed to give her support in all areas of her game.
It’s impossible to pick a favourite TAI Tzu Ying match but the series of breathtaking battles with Ratchanok Intanon over the years standout as the El Classico of the badminton world. The spectacular skills of both athletes elevate these games to thrilling contests between wonderful opponents challenging each other to reach new heights of wizardry. Read more here TAI Tzu Ying & Ratchanok Intanon: MayTAI
500 Up, more than 200 weeks as World #1 and not finished yet. Dr TAI’s zest for the game has refocused with the 2024 Paris Olympics on the horizon. It’s impossible to predict what results the next year will bring but we know that when she walks onto the court her fans will be there to clap and cheer, standing ready to support and witness the unlimited brilliance of this incredible player.
If you enjoyed this then take a look at one of my archive articles about TTY https://womensbadminton.co.uk/2022/01/29/tai-tzu-ying-200-breathtaking-weeks-as-world-1/ or this one https://womensbadminton.co.uk/2022/03/02/tai-tzu-ying-at-the-all-england/
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