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Legend Tai says goodbye to All England for last time

Tai Tzu Ying, one of YONEX All England Open’s all-time greats departed the stage for the final time at the 2024 Championships. 

As she made her way to the semi-finals, the excitement at getting to play the three-time champion ramped up from opponents.

It took eventual winner Carolina Marin at close to her best to defeat the Chinese Taipei shuttler who will end her storied career after the Paris Olympics this summer.

“I really liked to play here at All England because I had huge support from the audience with very loud cheering no matter who am I playing against,” Tai said.

“I have the loudest cheering from the audience and this gives me a lot of motivation, I appreciate the encouragement from the audience.

“All England is the most prestigious tournament around the world and I have enjoyed every single moment playing here.

“I have always wanted to put out my best level and I don’t want to leave any bad memories of this court that I have really liked.”

Alongside her three women’s singles titles that came in 2017, 2018 and 2020, Tai has medalled at every major championships.

She will head to Paris looking to improve her silver medal from Tokyo, having ended her World Championships career with two medals.

The Asian Games is where she has had comparable success to her triumphs at the All England, winning three golds with a chance at a fourth next month.

But, her legacy can perhaps best be summed up by how her competitors talked about her.

Korea’s Kim Ga Eun said: “She is an excellent player, it was a very meaningful match to play against her knowing she hasn’t got many matches left until she retires.

“It was a great opportunity for me.”

Kim lost in straight games a Tai set up a meeting with the sixth seed, He Bing Jiao of China in the quarter-finals.

The two produced a thrilling match that Tai took 16-21 21-16 22-20 and won the hearts of anybody she had not already impressed by helping He to her feet after a heavy fall on match point.

She’s always been a really friendly player and not only for that moment,” she said. “When my racket flew to the other court, she also helped me to pick it up. That’s really fantastic.

“I really want to play another game if I could but unfortunately there’s no chance for that. I really want to play another game with Tai Tzu Ying in the future.

I am 100% respectful to her and the display on court already shows our sportsmanship and friendship as well.”


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