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Most successful singles players at the All England Open

Lin Dan in action during the 2017 All Englan Championships
Lin Dan in action during the 2017 All Englan Championships
sounak mullick

The prestigious All England Open Badminton Championships tournament is around the corner and top shuttlers from around the world are all gearing up for the grand occasion.

Not only is it going to be a much-awaited one, but one to look forward to from the players' perspective, with the tourney acting as preparation ahead of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

The previous edition concluded just a few weeks before international travel bans were imposed owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. Denmark’s Victor Axelsen and Taiwan’s Tai Tzu-Ying bagged top honors in the men’s and women’s singles event respectively.

Now, let us take a look at the players that owned the tournament in the past:

All-time most titles at the All England Open (1980-2020)

Men's Singles - Lin Dan (6 titles)

A man who needs no introduction, Lin Dan has literally owned the All England Open Badminton Championships in the modern era, having won six titles during his heyday. It was back in 2004, at the tender age of 21 that the Chinese claimed the first silverware in Birmingham and it was all he needed to boost his professional career. Since then, there has been no looking back for the shuttler.

Apart from conquering various other tournaments, he went on to script a top-podium finish at the All England in 2006, 2007 and also in 2009, a year after winning a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics. ‘Super Dan’ propelled his record to an insurmountable level by adding more titles in 2012 and 2016.

Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei and Denmark’s Morten Frost are second on this particular list, having won four titles each in the modern era. While Frost ruled the circuit in the 1980s, Chong Wei was Lin Dan’s contemporary and enjoyed a fierce rivalry with the Chinese player throughout his career.

Women's Singles - Susi Susanti (4 titles)

Susi Susanti won her first All England title in 1990 (Image: BWF)
Susi Susanti won her first All England title in 1990 (Image: BWF)

The Indonesian enjoyed a similar status to Lin Dan when it comes to women’s events, with Susi Susanti being regarded as one of the greatest players to have ever graced the game.

When the shuttler featured in the 1990 All England Open Badminton Championships, she was already a star, having claimed the World Cup in Guangzhou a year earlier.

Having won the prestigious All England title for the first time in 1990, Susanti followed it up with another one a year later. After a one-year gap, Susanti again claimed back-to-back All England titles in 1993 and 1994 to engrave her name in the history books forever.

It was a one-woman show during the early 1990s with Susanti grabbing a top podium finish at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, thus becoming the first woman from the country to achieve the rare feat.

The 1997 Badminton World Cup triumph was the last major title Susanti laid her hands on, before age got the better of her.

All-time Most Titles (Amateur Era)

Men's Singles - Rudy Hartono (8 titles)

Rudy Hartono won eight consecutive titles at the All England Open
Rudy Hartono won eight consecutive titles at the All England Open

Rudy Hartono attained demigod status at the All England Open Championships during his prime, having won eight consecutive titles in England from 1968 to 1974. It only took another one-of-a-generation shuttler – countryman Swie King Liem to break the monopoly in the men’s singles event.

It was during the same time that the legendary player claimed the Asian Games gold medal in Bangkok, in 1970. It is a pity that he only got to win an Olympic medal as a part of a demonstration sport during the 1972 Munich Games, with Badminton inducted as one of the major disciplines only in 1992 – 20 years later.

The triumph at the 1980 World Championships in Jakarta was the last feather Rudy added to his cap, before bidding adieu to the game a few years later. His tryst with the sport continued even after retirement, having served as an official for various organisations like the Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI) and Badminton World Federation (BWF).

Women's Singles - Judy Devlin (10 titles)

Judy Devlin has won the most titles by any singles player at the All England Championships (Image: BWF)
Judy Devlin has won the most titles by any singles player at the All England Championships (Image: BWF)

The only non-Asian on our list, the American enjoyed a glamorous career from mid 1950s to mid 1960s, having registered a total of 86 national and international titles. Judy Devlin took baby steps into the world of badminton under the supervision of her father at a very young age, while she burst into the international scene with the U.S Open Badminton Championships, back in 1954.

It was in the same year that she claimed her first title in the United Kingdom across the Atlantic and started a never-seen dominance at the All England Championships. She went on to claim the ultimate prize for nine times following her first triumph – 1957, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1966, and 1967. Judy was literally invincible during the phase.

Following which, the USA-based player was more into doubles than singles, with the 1973 English National Championships being her last major win at international level. Post-1960, after her marriage with Dick Hashman, the legendary player settled in England and later became a British citizen.

Most Final appearances

Lin Dan during the 2015 All England Open Badminton Championships
Lin Dan during the 2015 All England Open Badminton Championships

Men's Singles - Lin Dan (10 times)

The Chinese maestro has appeared in 10 finals so far, with his first title clash dating back to 2004, when he won the tournament for the first time. It was in 2018; towards the dawn of Lin Dan's career, that he appeared for the last time in the summit clash, falling prey to compatriot Yuqi Shi in the match.

Also Read: Top 5 men's singles contenders at the All England Open 2021

Men's Singles - Rudy Hartono (10 times)

Similar to the previous one, the Indonesian legend qualified for the final on 10 occasions during his career, starting with his first win way back in 1968. Meanwhile, the straight-sets loss to Swie King Liem during the 1978 edition was the last time Rudy Hartono aimed for the top prize in the United Kingdom.

Women's Singles - Judy Devlin (13 times)

The shuttler holds the record for the most appearances in the final by any player in both eras combined, having played in the title clash for the first time in 1954. It was 13 years later Judy Devlin found herself in the same boat as she overcame a stiff competition from Noriko Takagi of Japan to lift her 10th crown at the All England Championships.

Edited by Rohit Mishra

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