This has been a great year for China's Chen Yu Fei. She spent quite some time in the women's singles circuit as a talented but not very successful player. In fact, hallway through last year, she looked the second-best player from her country, behind He Bing Jiao.
But then, she got a great breakthrough in the Fuzhou China Open Super 1000 tournament which she managed to win. This was a wake-up call to the rest of the world – Chen has arrived. She continued her successful run in 2019. The victory at the All England Championships was another big step up for the young Chinese.
Now, by becoming the World Tour Finals winner, Chen has made a great case for being considered as the best women's singles player in the world. The lady who was ranked no. 1 going into the final – Tai Tzu Ying – was defeated by the 21-year old player and dethroned from her perch at the top of the rankings.
But is Chen genuinely the best player in the world? For answering this question, we must look at the other players in the circuit.
Women's singles badminton is enjoying a golden period with over half-a-dozen top-level players, all capable of beating anyone on their day, competing at the moment. All these players have their own unique characteristics.
Tai has great skills, Carolina Marin possesses great power and speed, PV Sindhu height, Ratchanok Intanon deft shot-making, Nozomi Okuhara and Akane Yamaguchi great stamina, and so on.
But what makes Chen special is the fact that she is a complete player. If one looks at her game, he cannot pick out one quality that makes her special. That's actually a positive because it means there are no weak points in her game. The way she played against Tai was a master-class to watch.
The All England Champion aced all departments of the game. Her retrieving left the Asian Games champion clueless while her shot-making was also highly impressive. It's the complete nature of her game that makes her stand out. Hence, it could be said with confidence that she is, at the moment, the best player in the world. Until someone else can match her level, she will remain so.