As Thursday dawned to the unveiling of the BWF’s latest weekly rankings, the 25-year-old Ravupalem, Andhra Pradesh, native was safely installed as the second Indian player at the World No 1 position. Star Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth’s stellar rise to the top continued as he replaced Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen to achieve the numero-uno spot in the latest BWF World Rankings here on Wednesday.
Srikanth, who replaced the mighty Dane, became only the first male player from India in the modern era of BWF Rankings and third overall to achieve this exceptional feat after the legendary Prakash Padukoneachieved the feat before the modern ranking was introduced.
Before him, Padukone had been thought of as the world’s top player in 1980, but the ranking was unofficial. It was Saina Nehwal who had the distinction of becoming the first Indian player to be ranked No 1 — in April 2015, shortly after winning the India Open.
Srikanth, who trains at the Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad and is a Padma Shri awardee, won four superseries titles last year and became only the fourth shuttler in the world achieve this distinction. He is also the only Indian who has achieved the feat of defeating theBadminton legends Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei.