Who to watch at the BWF World Championships 2023: The men’s singles

Who to watch at the BWF World Championships 2023: The men’s singles

This week’s BWF World Championships 2023 have already commenced at the Royal Arena in Copenhagen, Denmark. Here we take a the contenders in the men’s singles (and what they play with)...
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1. Viktor Axelsen (Yonex)

Racket: Astrox 100zz Kurenai

One of the tournament favourites. Viktor Axelsen's standing is due to his blend of on-court prowess, agility, and tactical acumen. The towering Dane, renowned for his powerful smashes and deft touch at the net, has displayed remarkable consistency in major tournaments. Axelsen's triumph at the Tokyo Olympics was a testament to his mastery over the game and mental resilience. As he heads into the World Championships, his relentless drive, superb form, and the strategic deployment of his Yonex equipment make him not merely a contender, but a potent force expected to dictate the pace of the competition. His fans and rivals alike will be watching keenly to see if he can replicate his recent success and further etch his name into badminton's pantheon of greats. The home favourite, back in his native Denmark, can he do it?

As the reigning Olympic, Japan Open, European Games, Indonesian Open, Malaysian Open, World Tour Finals, French Open and reigning 2022 World Championships champion, he certainly has the creds.

Shoes: Power Cushion 65z3

Strings: BG80


2. Kunlavut Vitidsarn (Yonex)

Racket: Astrox 88D Pro racket

Vitidsarn's selection of the Astrox 88D Pro racket combined with BG80 strings, provides a blend of power and precision. His chances are favourable, but he'll need to overcome strong competition. Holds a 28-9 2023 win/loss ratio and is the current Thailand and India Open champion. Runner-up in last year’s World Championships.

Strings: BG80

3. Kodai Naraoka (Yonex)

Racket: Astrox 99 Pro

Naraoka's game focuses on control and precision. His chances are promising, and he may be a dark horse in this tournament. Four semi-finals, four quarter-finals and one final appearance this year doesn’t reflect Kodai’s talent or reflect his sensational form of 2022 but still a force to be reckoned with.

Strings: Exbolt 65


4. Jonatan Christie (Li Ning)

Racket: Axforce 90 Tiger Max

Christie's racket choice reflects his offensive style. His chances depend on his form and ability to harness the power of his equipment. Always dangerous but a little inconsistent, patchy 2023 form with only an Indonesian Masters win to his name.


5. Li Shi Feng (Yonex)

Racket: Astrox 100zz Navy Blue

Li's equipment choices reflect his preference for balance and control. His chances are moderate, depending on how well he can execute his game plan. The current Yonex All England Champion, the man who’s making his mark following in his hero Lin Dan’s footsteps, he has a few titles this year – US Open, a runner up in Canada and, of course, he’s won the big one in Birmingham so he knows how to win! Can he do it on the next big stage?

Strings: 66 Ultimax

6. Loh Kean Yew (Li Ning)

Racket: Li-Ning Axforce 90 Long Max

Loh always takes an attacking approach and definitely has the potential to surprise. The Singaporean is a former World Champion, and has made finals this year, so has the calibre to shock.


7. Shi Yu Qi (Yonex)

Racket: Astrox 100zz Navy Blue

Shi has a blend of power and agility and his chances are strong if he can maintain his form. A bit of an underachiever considering the skills possessed, but long absences and living in the shadow of legends like Lin Dan and Chen Long haven’t helped. Shi Yu Qi has everything a player has ever needed to succeed, and is the one player in the draw no one wants to face thanks to his low seeding. He has semi-finals and one final to date in 2023. But seems to relish the underdog status.

Strings: BG80 Power


8. Lakshya Sen (Yonex)

Racket: Nanoflare 1000z

A great all-around game, as reflect by his racket and strings choice. His chances appear average, but recent performances show growing promise. The Commonwealth champion has skills, aggression and plenty of flair. He hates losing and really broke onto the scene a few years ago. His form is patchy in 2023 but he’s dangerous and armed with the fastest smash racket in the world the Nanoflare 1000z!

Strings: BG80 Power

9. Anders Antonsen (Victor)

Racket: Auraspeed 90K racket

His racket/strings combination accentuates his versatile playing style. A solid chance and should not be underestimated. It’s a home tournament, the Danish love being at home, ans although he’s had a rather patchy few years he has found some form in 2023 with a Korean Open win and a couple of final appearances.

Strings: VBS-63

Wild cards

Ng Tze Yong

Malaysia’s next big hope, their favourite child since Lee Chong Wei. Humble, skillful, fast and powerful he has everything needed. He’s always roared on by the ever-present Malaysian travelling fans wherever he goes and has proven with wins against Axelsen, Chou Tien Chen, Loh Kean Yew and Christie this year that he can really do it! The Commonwealth Games silver medalist unfortunately has a 16-14 win/loss this year, which is not favourable and he does have a tendency of first round losses, but he’s learning and getting better and shown he can beat anyone on his day.


Lee Zii Jia

Where do we start? Possibly the most divisive player in badminton, maybe the badminton version of Nick Kyrgios. Now with a new coach Wong Tat Meng, can Lee Zii Jia finally find some consistent form?

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