Indian Badminton tasted international success and had great players like P Gopichand, Prakash Padukone, Madhumita Bisht, Aparna Popat, Syed Modi and Vimal Kumar in the 20th century.
But due to lack of infrastructure and exposure, many a time, these great players, failed to perform to the best of their potential.
However, in the 21st century, things have changed for the better. With better facilities and exposure, Indian badminton has become more consistent. With great players like Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, K Srikanth, H S Pranoy, P Kasyap, J Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa coming up and consistently winning international events, Indian Badminton has reached its peak in the recent years.
In this article, we have tried to pick the top 5 Indian badminton players of all time.
#5 Pullela Gopichand
Gopichand is more well known to the present generation of badminton fans, for his excellent coaching ability. He has been the mentor of modern-day greats like Saina, Sindhu and Srikanth.
But as a player also, Gopichand was of the very highest quality. His biggest achievement was winning the prestigious All England Championship in 2001, by beating top players like Peter Gade and Chen Hong.
He achieved a career-best ranking of 5th in March 2001.
Because of injuries, he had to cut short his playing career and could not achieve greater heights as a player.
#4 K Srikanth
He is the best Indian Men's Singles player of the present generation. Srikanth became World number 1 in men's Singles in April 2018 after his tremendous performance in the 2017-18 season.
He is one of the best players in the circuit and on his day he can beat anybody in the world. His attacking style of play makes him almost unstoppable when he is in rhythm.
He has already won 7 super series titles, which is the maximum, by any Indian male player.
Being only 25-years-old, he has a long way to go. He will definitely win many more medals in premier tournaments like Olympics, World Championships and All England Championships if he is able to maintain his form and fitness.
#3 Prakash Padukone
Prakash Padukone was the first Indian Badminton icon. He is still arguably, the greatest male badminton player India has ever produced.
He was the first Indian player to win the All England Championships in 1980. Then he went on to win the World Cup in 1981. He became the first Indian Badminton Player to be ranked number 1 in the world.
What made his achievements even greater was that it came at a time, when the country had hardly any infrastructure for badminton.
He was an inspiration for the generations to follow.
#2 PV Sindhu
Younger of the two golden girls of Indian Badminton, PV Sindhu, has been a sensation in the last few years.
With an Olympic Silver medal and four World Championship medals already in her bag (2 Silvers and 2 Bronzes), Sindhu has been the most successful Indian badminton Star in the last 3-4 years.
She has replaced the great Saina Nehwal, as the top-ranked Indian Singles player.
Her tremendous big match temperament makes her India's best bet, to win medals, in any big event.
At the age of 23, Sindhu has already achieved so much, that she is considered among the all-time greats.
With a long career ahead of her, she has the potential to break all records and be the best ever Indian Badminton player.
#1 Saina Nehwal
One of the biggest sporting icons of the country, Saina Nehwal, has been the poster girl of Indian Badminton for the last decade.
It was her consistent achievements in the court, that made badminton, one of the most popular game in the country.
She was the first Indian Badminton Player to win a medal (Bronze) in the Olympic Games.
She also has two World Championship medals in her kitty. She became the number one player in the world and won medals for the country in tournaments like Uber Cup, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games.
Saina is one of the greatest players of her generation and the best Indian Badminton Player till date.