Kidambi Srikanth is officially the no. 1 men’s badminton player in the world, after being named at the top spot in the latest Badminton World Federation weekly rankings. He overtook Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen to take the top spot. It is the first time that an Indian is world no. 1 in the men’s rankings since the Badminton World Federation’s computerized rankings came into practice.
The last Indian to occupy the no. 1 spot was Saina Nehwal in 2015, while Prakash Padukone was widely considered the best in the world after winning three major tournaments. Currently, Srikanth stands on 76,895 rankings points while Axelsen is on 75,470 points. Speaking to the Times of India, Md Maqdoom Ahmed, a badminton analyst for the Sports Authority of India said, “We’ve been anxiously waiting for this moment. He should have become No. 1 last year but injury prevented him from playing the year-end tournaments. Had he reached quarterfinals in a couple of those tournaments he could have become No. 1. Though Srikanth won’t gain any points, Axelsen losing 1660 points will be good enough for the Indian.”
Srikanth had a superb 2017 where he won four Super Series titles, but injuries hampered his involvement in the year-end tournaments. He most recently helped India to win a gold medal in the mixed team event at ongoing Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast.