The 37-year-old announced his retirement from the game on Saturday.
Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei was the greatest rival of Lin Dan and described him as a ‘King’ after the two-time Olympic gold medallist bid adieu to badminton due to his deteriorating physical fitness.
Lin Dan is arguably the greatest badminton player of the 21st century. In his illustrious career, he won the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and the London games in 2012. He also has nine major titles to his name, which includes five world championships.
The Chinese star always proved a tough opponent for Lee Chong Wei. Overall, Lin Dan has the advantage over the three-time Olympic silver medalist, as he won 28 matches against him and lost only 12 in a total of 40 encounters. However, it didn’t affect the mutual respect they both have towards each other.
After hearing about the retirement of Lin Dan, the former Malaysian badminton player tweeted, “We knew this day would arrive, Heavy moment of our lives; you pulled down the curtain gracefully, you were king where we fought so proudly; your final wave all four disappear, within the hush of silent tear.”
Initially, Lin Dan was planning to bid farewell to the game after participating in the Tokyo Olympics, but his fitness issues forced him to go away from badminton.
“I’ve dedicated everything to the sport I love. My family, coaches, teammates and fans have accompanied me through many happy times and difficult moments. Now I’m 37-years-old and my physical fitness and pain no longer allow me to fight side-by-side with my teammates, he said to the Chinese media.
Lee Chong Wei has always appreciated his toughest rival, as he also helped him to become one of the finest players the game has ever seen. During a live session on social media in April 2020, he admitted to being almost obsessed with the notion that he had to be better than the five-time world champion.
The Malaysian star said, “Lin Dan is a legend, his titles speak for themselves. We have to salute him. He was constantly in my head when I got back to training after every loss. I knew if I wanted to win important tournaments, I had to beat him. I couldn’t relax. Even when I was cramping up, I told my coach I wanted to continue training because Lin was waiting for me. I was thinking about him all the time.”
The 69-time BWF tournament winner announced his retirement in June last year. He had originally planned to play until the Tokyo Olympics, but an early-stage nose cancer in 2018 crushed his dreams of playing in the quadrennial event.