Kuala Lumpur: The matches between Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia and Lin Dan of China have been the chief driver of interest in professional badminton over the past decade. Lee expected the fierce rivalry between him and Lin Dan would likely to continue over the next few years.
“We still have few more years to play competitively and to take on each other on the badminton court. Our rivalry is definitely good for the sport,” said Lee.
“I think everyone wants to see it and everybody knows Lin Dan is the key player in the sport,” Lee told Indian media during the Yonex’s Legends’ Vision World Tour that was held in Mumbai, India last Saturday.
However, both badminton legends have experienced slump in form during the 2017 season. Lee suffered several early elimination in major tournaments this year, while Lin Dan has only won one championships this year (Malaysia Open).
The badminton icons have been seen as badminton’s equivalent of legendary rivals such as Roger Federer–Rafael Nadal (tennis), Magic Johnson – Larry Bird (NBA), or Bjorn Borg-John McEnroe (tennis). They have received enormous attention around the world and have become popular images for the sport of badminton. The increasing attention on both also fueled the enthusiastic gaze of both media and public on the sport.
Despite being close rivals on badminton court, Lee and Lin have demonstrated good friendship off court.
“We got to know each other at the Asian Juniors. We had hard and painful battles on court, but we shared many fun moments and good friendship off court,” added Lee.
The duo were drawn into the top half the of China Open that will be held from Nov 14 to Nov 19, they are expected to go head to head in the quarter-finals.