It is very difficult to pinpoint a single person and declare him/her to be the greatest personality ever lived or played the game of badminton. Individual opinion and preference regarding interesting badminton personality varies, and this diversity is the reason for badminton remaining as an interesting sport with tremendous fan following worldwide.
Many badminton lovers worldwide, especially Chinese, consider Tong Xian Fu to be one of the greatest badminton personalities to ever adorn the game. He remained virtually unbeaten on tour during his playing days. He had tremendous energy reserves and strength, which enabled him to pummel opponents, often in straight sets.
His footwork was nimble, court covering extraordinary and he had tremendous reaction time and agility. For all these qualities, he was known as the "Thing". He is the one who started spinning the serves, confusing the opponents. But sadly, he was unable to compete in official tournaments because of politics. Fittingly, he is serving as the Chinese national team coach.
Similarly, players like Zhao Jian Hua, Yang yang and many other legendary players are revered by Chinese to date as entertaining badminton personalities. To mention all Chinese legends and their achievements will take another 20 pages, for china has contributed so much to the game of badminton.
Americans consider David G.Freeman as their greatest ever badminton player to this date. He was at the pinnacle of glory between 1939 to 1942, when the national championships was abandoned because of World War II. He is said to have uncanny accuracy in placing the shuttle in any corner of the opponent's court. For an amateur, he apparently had tremendous court covering skills and shot making.
Similarly, American Judy Hashman has the record of maximum All England Championship wins in women's category. She had won it an astounding 10 times between 1954 and 1967.
Indonesians revere Rudy Hartono as their badminton God and one of their national heroes. Called as the "wonderboy", he was a gifted badminton player, who abandoned his ambition of becoming a doctor, falling in love with badminton instead, and rightly so.
He had won an incredible 8 All England badminton competition finals and 4 Thomas cups for Indonesia. His record 7 straight All England titles and 8 overall is unrivalled even today. A pious man, he perfectly understood when to lay low and when to attack the opponent. His records were duly recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1992.
Recently, the talented Taufiq hidayat is the torchbearer of world class Indonesian badminton, by his string of impressive performances.
Denmark's Morten Frost is one of the all time legendary badminton personalities, impressing one and all with his performance in his playing days.
South Korea doesn't lag far behind in badminton personalities. In fact, the legendary Park Joo Bong has won the maximum number of world badminton championship titles in doubles category, winning 4 world championships, two in doubles (1985 and 1991) and two in mixed doubles (1989 and 1991). It is a feat, which even the more accomplished badminton nations are unable to beat to this date.
England, which is the country of official origin of badminton, has its own share of legends. In fact, it is an Englishman who has won the maximum titles in the All England Championships to this date. He is none other then George Thomas, who had won 4 singles, 9 men's doubles and 8 mixed doubles titles, a total of 21, between 1903 and 1928. The record still stands.
Similarly, Rashid Sidek is a household name in Malaysia. He had helped Malaysia win Thomas cup in 1992 and has also won an Olympic bronze medal in 1996 Olympics for his country.
Before him, it was Eddie choong who occupied the center stage of Malaysian badminton, winning 4 All England championship titles in 1953, 1954, 1956 and 1957. He had also won the Danish open during 1952-53. He fine tuned his talents himself when he played with his brothers while under the Japanese occupation of Penang island during 1941, whereby he had developed a highly unorthodox game of his era.
After that, he went to London to study law during 1950 but concentrated on badminton there instead. He had won more than 150 tournaments before the American Badminton Association invited him to the US.
Even cricket crazy India has produced interesting badminton personalities like Prakash padukone and Pullela Gopichand. Prakash padukone had beaten Rudy Hartono in All England championship and Pullela Gopichand has also won it once.
Interesting personalities among women don't lag far behind. Players like Gong zhi chao and Gillian Gilks are very popular worldwide. Probably, badminton is the only sport where one of the prestigious events is named after a woman, Betty Uber, an English badminton player, known as the Uber cup.