Kidambi Srikanth has been named the new top-ranked men’s badminton player in the world, overtaking Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen in the Badminton Word Federation weekly rankings released on Thursday.
The 25-year-old Srikanth will be the first Indian man to reach the top in the new era of computerised rankings. Prakash Padukone was considered number 1 in 1980 after winning three major tournaments. He is also the second Indian to reach the coveted position after Saina Nehwal who accomplished the feat in the in March 2015.
Srikanth has a total of 76,895 ranking points while his predecessor Axelson is on 75,470. Axelson lost 1660 points this week as he has not been playing due to his current injury and will not be able to defend his Malaysian Open championship title that he won last year.
"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," Md Maqdoom Ahmed, a badminton analyst for the Sports Authority of India (SAI) told the Times of India.
After a fantastic 2017 where he won four Super Series titles, Srikanth was plagued with injury towards the end of the year which prevented him from winning more titles.
Srikanth was also instrumental in winning the gold medal for his country in the mixed-team event during the ongoing Commonwealth games at Gold Coast, Australia on Monday.
Born in East Godavari, Andhra Pradesh, Srikanth turned professional in 2008. He won his first Super Series title at the China Open in 2014 beating one of the greatest players in badminton history, Lin Dan.