Australian Open $uperserie$ 2014 debuts with casualties

As usual, the news doesn’t wait for matches to begin as Sydney was as busy as it was excited on the eve of Australia’s first Superseries badminton tournament. Story and […]

As usual, the news doesn’t wait for matches to begin as Sydney was as busy as it was excited on the eve of Australia’s first badminton tournament.

Story and photos by Aaron Wong, Badzine Correspondent live in Sydney.

Seeing as neither country is a powerhouse in badminton prowess, the Superseries debuting tomorrow as a Superseries has been as unlikely as the French one.  Even more surprising yet true is that the tournament Down Under is offering the second largest prize purse in world badminton this year.

To be able to accommodate the increased crowd capacity and court conditions in line with its promotion to a level above its previous Grand Prix Gold status, it is no longer calling the heart of the Central Business District home and is instead moving to the Sports Centre at Sydney Olympic Park, where the 2003 edition was also held.

The historic firsts don’t end there.  Most of interest to the antipodean spectators is their first chance to watch Olympic champions Lin Dan, Fu Haifeng, and Cai Yun of China, Lee Yong Dae of Korea, Indonesia’s mixed doubles World Champions Lilyana Natsir / Tontowi Ahmad, and the Danish contingent.

This could be the first time a world #1 pair are present but not playing their discipline.  China’s Zhao Yunlei / Zhang Nan are entered in this tournament but only in their respective level doubles events.

What goes around when good things come in threes

It is also the first time that three Superseries tournaments are being played back to back: Japan, Indonesia, and the Aussie.  Whether this is good scheduling needs debating.  As of the Managers’ Meeting at 4pm today, the head referee Girish Nadu announced that first and second seeds in men’s singles, Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark and Kenichi Tago of Japan who played in Indonesia’s final yesterday, were amongst those who had officially withdrawn.  This benefits Malaysia’s Liew Daren and all of Australia’s women’s singles representatives who now get to start in the main draw.

The referee went on to state that failure to play to one’s best efforts henceforth from this tournament will be a penalty offence and part of the umpire’s natural powers to enforce.  It was emphasised that all quarter-finalists onward need to fill out Australia’s withholding tax forms or else they will not pocket their full prize money.

On the bright side, men’s singles world #15 Viktor Axelsen chirped, “This is by far the best players lounge I’ve ever seen,”  presumably when he spotted the foosball table.

Along with Axelsen, the world’s second best women’s pair, Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl, were recognisably the Scandinavians at the press conference as they were happily snapping selfies with the Sydney Harbour Bridge, dressed in their teeshirts outdoors,  in the middle of wintertime.

Aaron Wong

About Aaron Wong

Aaron Wong only ever coveted badminton's coolest shot - a reverse backhand clear. He is renowned for two other things: 1) Writing tournament previews that adjust the focus between the panorama of the sport's progress, down to the microscopic level of explaining the striking characteristics of players; 2) Dozing off during men's doubles at the London Olympic Games. Contact him at: aaron @