Badminton Life

Padukone Pays Tribute to Hartono as The Greatest Ever

Indian badminton legend Prakash Padukone has hailed Indonesia's eight-time All England men's singles champion Rudy Hartono as the greatest player ever.

In a wide-ranging interview with Indian radio, Padukone recalls the impact Hartono had on him as a youngster.

The Indian was only 15 years old when he played Hartono, and though he lost heavily, he learned valuable lessons that would help him to his own All England title in 1980.

"In fact, I tried to play a little like (those great players of the past). It was a very interesting match that I played with Rudy Hartono in Bombay Gymkhana way back in 1971," he was quoted as saying in extracts of the interview published in the Indian Express.

"I think he is the greatest badminton player the world has ever produced. I consider him my idol.

"I tried to model my game on his style. I got an opportunity to play with him when I was 15-years old. You know, of course, I lost 15-5, 15-3, because he was the current world champion at that time, but that was a real eye-opener.

"I realised you know, I was playing a very defensive game and I realised that if I had to do to do well at the international level after I watched Rudy play. He was probably the person who was responsible for the current kind of game, which the current day players were playing."

Padukone was referring to the half smash that Hartono was famous for and which was copied by players from his time in the 70s until today. The Indonesian was also know for his top-down smashes.

Said Padukone: "Most of the shots were down. And you know, he was very intelligent player, not just bang-bang type of player which the current day players play. I think a complete player. There were hardly any weaknesses in his game. His defence, his offence, his net, his match temperament."

Among the other great players of Padukone's time were Morten Frost, Lim Swee King and Han Jian.

Padukone is one of only two Indians who have won the All England men's singles title, the other being Pullela Gopichand.

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