Lin Dan enters German Open quarters, blasts BWF for new service rule

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Lin Dan is unhappy with BWF's new service rule.
Lin Dan is unhappy with BWF's new service rule.

Mulheim-An-Der-Rhur: Two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan was forced to come through a tense three-setter at the German Open on Thursday as he scraped to a tough victory over unseeded Kanta Tsuneyama of Japan 20-22, 21-14, 21-18 in 68 minutes.

Lin will meet No. 6 seeds Angus Ng Ka Long of Hong Kong in the quarter-finals.

Prior to his Thursday match, Lin Dan took to his social media page in China to amplify his dissatisfaction with Badminton Word Federation’s (BWF) new service rule as German Open became the first tournament where the rule was implemented.

Unlike the previous service rule that required the shuttle to be below the last rib of the server, starting March 2018, the point of contact at the start of a serve cannot exceed a height of 1.15m from the surface of the court. It was an attempt made by the BWF to eradicate errors by the service judges which has met with a lot of criticism from the players.

Even though BWF has justified that this major step was an attempt to eradicate errors by service judges, the decision threw the badminton world into a lot of confusion. Both the players and the umpires are facing the same struggle as they try putting in their best efforts to embrace this new idea at German Open.
Here’s was what Lin Dan posted on his social media page (translated by BadmintonPlanet.com):

I feel helpless because BWF is changing the most basic thing in badminton, which is the serve. The new service rule said that the point of contact at the start of the serve cannot be more than 1.15 meters from the ground.

I have played badminton for over 30 years and have competed in a lot of big competitions over 10+ years, and I didn’t expect that in 2018, I would actually need BWF to teach me how to serve.

To be honest, this is ridiculous!

The 2018 German Open became the first tournament to implement the new service rule, and a lot of players were called for service faults, including myself. So now, the focus of the game is no longer the players, but the way the referees call for the service fault could directly impacted the outcome of the match.

Originally, we thought BWF would implement the new service rule with the help of technology, but it turned out BWF is relying on the human eyes from the service judge, which could make incorrect service fault calls, and it’s not as convincing as the Hawkeye technology.

I am not complaining or bombarding the service judge, that’s their job, I’m just confused in term of about what the heck is BWF trying to accomplish? What’s the reason behind changing the service rule? Try to make badminton a better sport?

Frankly, I think you guys are always trying to learn from tennis, but you guys only learn from the very surface, which didn’t reflect the accurate detail of how to make the sport popular. You should survey the coaches and players and ask for the advices rather than just few people who were sitting in a room and start deciding and introducing new rules for the sport. You guys keep changing the rules, does it mean that you don’t have confidence in the sport?

There are indeed still many things that you guys need to do, and for sure badminton will need to do better than what we are doing now. As an athlete who has played badminton for more than 30 years, I really hope that you can use your power wisely for the sake of popularizing the sport of badminton.”

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