Let's take a look at the rackets of top badminton players spotted at the BWF Badminton World Championships 2021!
At the final-16 stage, there were still 124 players from 22 countries remaining in the draw across all 5 disciplines. I was able to identify 13 brands which was a slightly bigger spread compared to the rackets spotted at the Olympics (check it out here!).
Unsurprisingly, Yonex was still the most popular racket brand amongst the professional players, with 86 players in the final-16 using Yonex rackets. Victor came second with 11 players, Li Ning came third with 10 players, and Forza came fourth with 7 players. Mizuno, Gosen, Flypower and Protech all have 2 players each; while Wilson, Adidas, Apacs, Felet and Babolat have 1 player each.
So if we take a closer look at the Yonex rackets, the Astrox models were most popular with 46 players using them followed by the Nanoflares with 16. The Arcsabers and Duoras have 10 players apiece and the old but gold Voltrics have 4 players. In terms of racket models, there were 18 models on show, slightly less than the Olympics which had 20 models. 3 models stood out in particular and they are the Arcsaber 11, the Astrox 100ZZ and the Nanoflare 700. Pretty fitting that we have a representative for each of the head-heavy, even-balance and head-light rackets at the world champs.
Check out this interactive chart that I've made! Feel free to click around to view the data!
Players such as Aaron Chia, Nur Izzuddin, Tan Qiang, Mathias Christiansen and Zhao Jun Peng were playing with the Arcsaber 11 and we have Takuro Hoki, Chen Qing Chen, Lakshya Sen, Akane Yamaguchi and Wakana Nagahara who swapped to the Astrox 100ZZ from the Astrox 88S Pro at the Olympics previously.
For the Nanoflare 700, we have big-name players like Arisa Higashino, Wang Chi Lin, Lee Sohee, Shin Seung Chan and Sikki Reddy using it. One player who I noticed swapped out of the Nanoflare 700 is Michelle Li of Canada, she’s currently playing with a first-generation Astrox 88D at this world championships!
The next most popular racket for Yonex was the Astrox 77 with 8 players and followed by the Astrox 88D Pro with 7 players. The Astrox 77 players were An Se Young, Kim Gaeun, Han Yue, Wang ZhiYi and Isabel Lohau. The Astrox 88D Pro users were Marvin Seidel, Kim SoYeong, Soh Wooi Yik and Robin Tabeling!
If we look at the most recent racket launched by Yonex, the Astrox 99 Pro which I’ve done a review here, there were three players using it --- Lee Zii Jia, Lee Chuek Yiu and Kevin Cordon. We probably would have 4 if Kento Momota was playing too.
Also, not forgetting old school models such as the Voltric Z Force 2 which was used by Lauren Smith and HS Prannoy.
Let's now take a look at Victor rackets. I was able to identify 7 models with the Auraspeed 90K and Thruster F having 3 players each using them. All the Auraspeed 90K users were Danish players --- Anders Antonsen, Rasmus Gemke and Sara Thygesen. For the Thruster F, we have Sara Thygesen’s partner, Maiken Fruergaard, Malaysia’s Lai Pei Jing as well as Kirsty Gilmore, who had an amazing win against Aya Ohori in the earlier rounds!
Other models that had 1 player each were the Jetspeed S12 by Ashwini Ponnappa, the Thruster F Enhanced Edition used by Goh Soon Huat which, coincidentally, is also the racket of choice of another pro pair that I know, Greg Mairs and Jenny Moore. We then have the Thruster Ryuga D by Tan Kian Meng, and finally, the big superstar Tai Tzu Ying was using her usual Thruster FC LTD, although she was wearing Yonex clothing and using Yonex bags.
We then move on to Li Ning which has a lot of big names playing with their rackets. Starting with Yuta Watanabe and Ong Yew Sin with the Aeronaut 9000C, as well as Teo Ee Yi with the Aeronaut 9000. We then have 4 players using the Tectonic series, with Kim Astrup and Pornpawee Chochuwong using the Tectonic 7C, Srikanth Kidambi using the Tectonic 9 and Sayaka Takahashi with the Tectonic 7 I. Kim Astrup’s partner, Anders Skaarup Rasmussen was playing with Li Ning’s Calibar 900 C. Finally, Loh Kean Yew, who has been making big waves on the circuit over the last 2 months alongside PV Sindhu, was playing with the Turbo Charging 75C.
For Forza, I was able to identify 4 models from their players who were from the Danish, French and Norwegian teams. For Hans Kristian Vittinghus, I believe he was playing with a Power 988 S. For Fabien and Delphine Delrue, I believe both of them were playing with the Forza Precision 12000 S. And finally, Mia Blichfeldt was using the Aero Power 1088 S.
As an added surprise, Indonesian fans should have something to cheer about as Flypower is also represented by previous All England champions, Vladmir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov. I can see Vladimir was playing with the Flypower Master 07 and Ivan was using the Enigma 900 V2.
Another brand that was not present at the Olympics would be Felet who is sponsoring Goh V Shem and Angus Ng Ka Long, although Angus didn't feature on my chart as he, unfortunately, didn't make the last 16. V Shem is playing with the Felet Woven TJ Power. Tan Wee Kiong, who won an Olympic silver medal with V Shem, is currently playing with Apacs Tweet 8000.
Wilson is also another brand that tends to only have a single player representing deep into tournaments. Misaki Matsutomo of Japan is that representative and plays with the Wilson Fierce CX9000 J.
Speaking of Japan, Mizuno is another brand that is quite familiar to Japanese players, mostly in terms of shoes but rackets are starting to come through recently. We now see Rin Iwanaga and Kie Nakanishi of Japan rocking the Mizuno Fortius 20 in their women’s doubles matches.
Feel free to play around with the data in the chart above. I’ll see you in the next one.