Taufik Hidayat, one of the greats of modern badminton, has announced his retirement at the end of this year’s Indonesia Open in June. It’s a competition he’s won six times but what is fitting about this announcement is that his career will end where it began, in his home country.
Taufik was only 15 when he was selected for the Indonesian national team. He promptly went on to win his first title at the Brunei Open and in 1999 he made it to the final of All England Open at just 17. His subsequent career has seen him become the World No. 1 and – perhaps more importantly – to become one of the sport’s greatest ambassadors. His crowning achievements were the astonishing 2004 Athens Olympics where the unseeded Taufik went on to win gold, defeating players ranked far higher than him. Then, in the following year, even that feat was equaled when he won the World Championships in Anaheim, in so doing becoming the first men’s singles player to have won both Olympic and World Championship titles. In badminton-crazy Indonesia, where players are celebrated for their great flair and skill, Taufik stands out for his vibrancy and speed, leaving his opponents baffled. His trademark shot is his leaping backhand smash, the aggression of which belies his nickname ‘baby face’. Taufik’s deserved legacy will be the TAUFIK HIDAYAT ARENA which opened its doors in December 2012 and is already welcoming the next generation of young players."
"My first encounter with YONEX was in 1993 when my father gave me a wonderful present – it was the Carbonex 9 racquet, which was really popular at the time. I remember the feeling when I first used it – the shuttlecock flew off the strings exactly how I’d always imagined playing with such a great racquet should feel.
When I became a national junior player I used the Carbonex 20. It really suited my style of play and like a partner we grew together. Since then, I have stayed with YONEX and used no other brand.
My partnership with YONEX is as strong today as it has always been - YONEX is a great company.
I love it when they give me a new racquet to try out – it’s exciting to see how YONEX have developed the game further, what areas they have explored in the design of the new model. YONEX are always pushing the boundaries. Ultimately they are all about inspiring great badminton.
If YONEX ask me to try out a new racquet I like to use it in a game situation because that way you can really test the racquet under match conditions – I think that it’s the best way to test it. It might feel good in practice, but it is good to feel how it copes with the pressure of a match situation.
My style is not based on power, but I do not need a powerful racquet. When I change to a new model, I rely on how the racquet feels to me when I use it in practice and in matches. The feeling I’m looking for is that sense of the racquet being a part of me, of being an extension of my arm. It’s instinctive. My body tells me if it’s the right fit or not, and, crucially, whether it will improve my performance
I will never compromise my choice of racquet, it must have the right balance of balance weight and control – after all, it is my weapon of choice on the court
YONEX understands this, so each racquet they give me has been carefully selected with my playing style in mind. YONEX has been an everlasting, much admired symbol since my childhood. Now I am able to help advise them on the development of YONEX sport equipment, which is like a kid testing sweets in a sweets shop!"
World No. 1 Lin Dan of China regarded Taufik as his great rival. Lin arrived at the World Championships full of confidence and fighting talk saying, “The player who I will enjoy beating the most is Taufik Hidayat“.