With 381 wins and 112 losses, Carolina Marin has established herself as one of the greatest shuttlers of all time. Through her fabulous attacking play and her fearlessness on the big stage, Marin has single-handedly put Spain on the badminton map.
There's not a single elite BWF title that the Huelva-born player hasn't won. Marin has an Olympic gold, multiple World and European Championships titles to her credit among numerous other accomplishments. Despite consistent and considerable success, the Spanish southpaw hasn't slowed down at all and is capable of adding a second gold at the Tokyo Olympics next year.
Here we take a look at five important moments from her illustrious career:
#1 Spain's first world champion
No stranger to making history, Carolina Marin wrote a golden chapter of her country's sport in 2014. Europeans haven't had much success in the women's singles discipline at the World Championships with Danish shuttlers, Lene Koppen and Camilla Martin being the only world champions from the continent.
Carolina Marin changed this single-handedly with her sterling performances in 2014. When she won the match point against the reigning Olympic champion Li Xuerui, Marin became the first Spaniard to be crowned the World Champion. To top it off, the 21-year-old became the youngest European to conquer the World Championships.
Not one to rest on her laurels, Marin didn't stop there. Next year, she returned to successfully defend her crown. This time she faced a resurgent Saina Nehwal, who was having an impressive season herself. However, the southpaw was still able to pull off a 21-16, 21-19 victory.
Carolina Marin came back in 2018 to add her third title at the World Championships. A 21-19, 21-10 win against PV Sindhu made her the first shuttler to win the women's singles title at the World Championships thrice.
#2 All England Open triumph
The 2015 season turned out to be one of the most memorable campaigns for Carolina Marin. She was the sixth seed at the prestigious All England Open, where Li Xuerui was the top seed.
Marin faced a few tricky opponents but she passed each test with flying colors. She got the better of fourth-seeded Sung Ji-Hyun 21-18, 22-20 to advance to the semifinals. Future World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying awaited her in the last-four clash. Tai was already known for her guile and finesse but the Spaniard was able to quickly crack the Tai code for a 21-18, 21-11 win.
In her first-ever Superseries Premier final, Carolina Marin faced India's Saina Nehwal, who had a winning head-to-head record against her up until that point. The Indian made a fast start and pocketed the first game 21-16.
The early deficit couldn't deter the Spanish ace. Riding on her aggressive game, she stormed back into the match to win 16-21, 21-14, 21-7.
#3 Olympic glory
Carolina Marin's continuing success on the badminton court culminated in the biggest title of her career in 2016. She was the top seed at the Rio Olympics and made her way to the final after beating the likes of Sung Ji-Hyun and Li Xuerui.
Marin was heavily challenged by India's PV Sindhu in the all-important summit clash. Sindhu, in fact, took the first game 21-19 after a mighty fight from both the girls. The Spanish shuttler managed to push aside the setback and got down to business right from the second game.
Her pinpoint accuracy and burgeoning self-belief were enough for her to complete a 19-21, 21-12, 21-15 victory.
Carolina Marin thus not only became the first Spaniard to accomplish this feat but also made history as the first non-Asian to clinch the women's singles gold at the Olympic Games.
#4 On top of the world
Carolina Marin's scintillating 2015 season got its biggest reward when she rose to the pinnacle of the world rankings on June 11. The Spaniard solidified her claim for the top spot by winning the All England Open in March. She then had a chance to clinch the highly-coveted No. 1 ranking during the India Open week. But a semifinal loss to Ratchanok Intanon dashed those hopes.
Carolina Marin shrugged off the setback soon after and got down to business. Title wins at the Malaysia Open and the Australia Open put her in the driver's seat for the World No. 1 spot and she finally ascended to the top in June.
She went on to hold the No. 1 ranking for a record 66 weeks, thus etching her name in the annals of Spain's sporting history.
#5 Sensational return to the sport after devastating injury
Champions are those who know how to rise after a fall. And Carolina Marin proved she is one with a sensational comeback after a horrific injury.
In 2019, Marin ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during the Indonesia Masters final and could not complete the match. It was painful to witness one of the world's fiercest competitors in despair as she left the court.
The 27-year-old underwent surgery and embarked on a journey full of determination as she aimed to come back to the highest level of the sport. This was a completely different battle for the Spaniard and was perhaps even tougher than tackling opponents on the court.
Carolina Marin left no stone unturned in her comeback preparations. After eight months, when she returned, the first match wasn't smooth as she went down in the first round of the Vietnam Open.
She did not give up despite the hammering. The China Open witnessed a totally different version of Carolina Marin - one who refused to bow out without a fight.
As the unseeded player, she tore through the draw, taking down the likes of fourth seed Nozomi Okuhara, Beiwen Zhang, seventh seed He Bingjiao, Sayaka Takahashi, and finally second seed Tai Tzu Ying in the final.
Carolina Marin's astonishing performance left the badminton world stunned and she showed that her devastating injury could not diminish her hunger and motivation levels.