All five of Australia’s Olympians, who competed at the Rio 2016 Olympics, will be competing at this year’s Australian Badminton Open. This includes players in the Women’s Singles, Men’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles.
Top Women’s Doubles pair Setyana Mapasa / Gronya Somerville (World No. 24) will also be on court, fresh from their Grand Prix titles at the 2016 Dutch Open and 2016 Canada Open.
This year’s Chinese contingent includes stars that represent each discipline of the sport, from older and newer generations. Leading the Men’s Singles players are reigning Olympic Champion Chen Long and his world-famous compatriot Lin Dan (considered one of the sport’s all-time greatest players).
Last year's Australian Open Mixed Doubles winners Huang Yaqiong / Lu Kai, along with runners-up Chen Qingchen / Zheng Siwei return to Sydney as the World No. 2 and World No. 1, respectively. This could result in last year’s finals line-up being repeated.
Fans will be delighted to hear that Men’s Doubles champion Zhang Nan, following his dual gold medals wins at the Rio 2016 Olympics Men’s Doubles and the London 2012 Olympics Mixed Doubles, will not be retiring from the sport yet. Since his success in Rio, Zhang has gone on to achieve Grand Prix wins with two new partners, Liu Cheng (men’s) and Li Yinhui (mixed). It will be the first time this versatile player competes in both disciplines in Australia - experts say a dual doubles victory at a SuperSeries is not out of the question for him.
Team China will aim for a clean sweep across the board, including a number of formidable new singles players who have already won Grand Prix titles – such as Women's Singles World Junior Champion Chen Yufei. In the Women’s Doubles field, the former World No. 1 partnership of Bao Yixin / Tang Jinhua will reunite to compete in Sydney.
The Danes’ impressive pedigree in Men’s Singles competition remains evident, with both Viktor Axelsen (World No. 3) and Jan O Jorgensen (World No 4) ranking in the Top 5. Axelsen may also be the only European player on the circuit to speak Mandarin, however fans will be looking out for the 2017 European Championships bronze medallist Hans-Kristian Vittinghus (World No. 18) who will be defending his 2016 Australian Open title.
In Women’s Doubles, World No. 2 team Kamilla Rytter Juhl / Christinna Pedersen remain serious contenders. They’ve won the European Championships five times (most recently in 2017) and won the Silver medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
The newly crowned European Championship Mixed Doubles winners, husband-and-wife team Gabrielle Adcock / Chris Adcock hope to compete in their fifth SuperSeries finals. They have previously won the 2015 Dubai World SuperSeries and 2013 Hong Kong Open, plus runner-up at the 2014 French Open and 2016 Dubai World Superseries.
Following the Rio 2016 Olympics, players from Hong Kong have regularly reached SuperSeries semi-finals in the Men’s Singles and Mixed Doubles disciplines. Last November, World No. 10 Angus Ng Ka Long managed to take out his first SuperSeries title on home soil at the 2016 Hong Kong Open.
Indian players have reached SuperSeries event finals a total of seven times in the past 12 months. Their current Men’s Singles star players are Ajay Jayaram, Srikanth Kidambi and Sameer Verma.
Women’s Singles Olympic medallists and World Top Ten players Saina Nehwal (Bronze at the London 2012 Olympics) and Pusarla Venkata Sindhu (Silver at the Rio 2016 Olympics) will return to Sydney. Both are in fine form, having each won a 2016 SuperSeries event and a 2017 SuperSeries event. Nehwal (World No. 9) will be keen to defend her 2016 Australian Open title and Sindhu (World No. 4) is fresh from her 2017 India Open win in April.
In the Men’s Singles discipline, Indonesia features three great “diamond in the rough” players who’ve reached an exciting stage of their young careers. Considering that an unprecedented seven first-time SuperSeries victors have won the Men’s Singles finals since the 2016 Australian Open, Sydney provides a great opportunity for 19-year-old Jonatan Christie, 20-year-old Anthony Ginting and 21-year-old Ihsan Mustofa.
Indonesia’s supremacy in the sport is also illustrated by the talent of the current World No. 1 Men’s Doubles team Marcus Fernaldi Gideon / Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and reigning Mixed Doubles Olympic champions Lilyana Natsir / Tontowi Ahmad.
Japan’s Women's Doubles players haven't titled in Australia since the SuperSeries was launched in 2012. It’s possible that 2017 will change that, as Olympic champion and World No. 1 Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi will be joined by three other pairs ranking in the World Top 15. Remarkably, all eight players have featured as SuperSeries finalists in the last 12 months, with three of them winning their matches.
Singles specialists represent a third of the entire team. In the women's category, both Akane Yamaguchi and Nozomi Okuhara will seek their fourth overall career SuperSeries titles and their first for 2017. Three of the team’s male players will be keen to upgrade their Grand Prix finals appearances to a SuperSeries final.
For World No. 2 Men’s Doubles players Keigo Sonoda / Takeshi Kamura, it’s been a busy 12 months with breakthrough performances in late 2016 resulting in two consecutive SuperSeries finals, one of which they won.
Two of Korea’s most famous players reached for the top of the ladder this year, with both Women’s Singles star Sung Ji Hyun and Men’s Singles champion Son Wan Ho reaching World No. 2 in their fields.
Korea’s Women’s Doubles Olympic Bronze medallists Shin Seung Chan / Jung Kyung Eun also reached World No. 2 in November 2016. Their compatriots Lee So Hee / Chang Ye Na won the 2017 All England title to become World No. 3.
This country continues to be a powerhouse nation of the sport, with four Malaysian players featuring in the Top 10 list of contenders. World No. 1 Men’s Singles champion Lee Chong Wei remains one of badminton’s most famous faces after winning the All England title for the fourth time.
In Men’s Doubles, Rio 2016 Olympic Silver medallists Goh V Shem / Tan Wee Kiong attained World No. 1 status earlier this year. Mixed Doubles champion, Rio 2016 Silver medallist and World No. 10 Chan Peng Soon continues to go from strength to strength. Also featuring strongly in Mixed Doubles this year are World No. 11 Lai Pei Jing / Tan Kian Ming who achieved two runners-up in 2016, two Grand Prix titles in 2016 and one Grand Prix title (the Malaysia Masters) in 2017.
Women’s Singles dynamo and World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying continues to enjoy an unbroken SuperSeries winning streak of five titles – the latest being 2017’s Malaysia Open, All England and Singapore Open.
Last year’s World No. 1 Women’s Singles player Ratchanok Intanon continues to prove her talent, with a runner-up finish at the 2017 All England.
In the last 12 months, the Thais have proved tough competition for their opponents in five SuperSeries finals including the Men’s Singles, Men’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles. Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk took home the Men’s Singles title from the 2016 Denmark Open. The Mixed Doubles team of Sapsiree Taerattanachai / Dechapol Puavaranukroh defeated the World No. 1 team enroute to winning the 2017 Swiss Open.