Does the Lee-Lin downfall mark the end of an era?
2017 has been largely disappointing for the two legends of badminton
Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan have together dominated the men's badminton circuit for more than a decade now. The achievements of the two go well beyond just the several titles that they have won, to include the love and appreciation that they get from their fans and peers.
Although their stardom has been marred with controversy - Lee was suspended for doping and Lin is known for his temper - they are, without doubt, the greats of the game.
All fans of the sport relish watching them play, especially against each other. It's true that some of the best matches in the history of badminton have come about as a result of this famous rivalry.
But now, with all the time that has passed, the magic that was on display for over a decade has gradually begun to diminish.
2017 has been a difficult year for both Lin Dan (five-time World champion and two-time Olympic gold-medallist) and Lee Chong Wei (three-time Olympic silver-medallist). Though both men have already won a Super Series title this year, their performances have been uncharacteristically inconsistent. There have been some early exists for both in Super Series tournaments this year.
Lin Dan has played 704 matches in his career so far, out of which he has won 615. Lee has won 677 out of 804.
The win percentage for Lin Dan in 2017 has dropped to 80.9 from 87.3, and Lee Chong Wei's has dropped to 78.6 from 84.2.
These numbers might look insignificant, but they matter when you factor in the long careers that both players have had. These dwindling statistics might be the result of age and injury, but an uncomfortably obvious question arises: are we witnessing the end of a golden era?
Though age might not be on the side of these two legends anymore, fans will hope to see them continue to play, make stronger comebacks, and give the sport more of the great matches that they have for so many years now.
Aged 34 and 35 years, it would be interesting to wait and see what tactics Lin and Lee employ to make their comebacks and attempt to dominate the world badminton scene once again.
In a recent interview, Lee said that Roger Federer is his inspiration - "Federer cemented his reputation as the greatest tennis player ever by lifting a record eighth Wimbledon title...this really motivated me for the World Championships especially since he is only one year older than me. If he can win, so can I."
This clearly exhibits the dedication that this legend has. Hopefully, the badminton fraternity will get an opportunity to witness these two greats in full form once again.