The All England Open begins in Birmingham on Wednesday and here is all you need to know about the prestigious badminton tournament:
The tournament will start at the Arena in Birmingham, England on March 14, with the final scheduled on March 18.
The special 25...
The All England Open will celebrate its 25th year of being held in Birmingham. The tournament (the oldest in the sport) was previously played in London.
And the special 1000
From this year the All England is part of the Badminton World Federation's top tier of events on the calendar. In January, the BWF had released a revamped world tour calendar, splitting the global tournaments on the lines of the ATP events in tennis.
The most popular badminton tournaments will now fall under different tiers; the BWF Super 1000, 750, 500 and 300 categories. There are only three BWF 1000 events: the All England, Indonesia Open and China Open.
The stakes are high
The Super 1000 events offer a minimum prize money purse of US$1 million.
No qualification for the first time
Unlike previous years, this year there is no qualification event.
So the best players will be in fray...
Yes, most of the top seeds in the men's and women's singles along with the best players in the doubles categories will feature in the tournament. The only top player to miss out is Denmark's Viktor Axelsen, the top seed and reigning men's World No 1 player, who pulled out with an injury.
And the top Indians will also be around
PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikkanth, HS Prannoy - none of these players has yet won the All England. They are all coached by a man who has: Pullela Gopichand. It will be as much his battle as theirs, then.
The All England Open will be the second tournament, after last week's German Open, to feature BWF's new experimental service rule. Under this rule, "the whole of the shuttle shall be below 1.15 metres from the surface of the court at the instant of being hit by the server's racket." So far the permissible height was 1.1 metre from the court.
Wait, but how will such length be accurately measured...
The service judge, who sits opposite the chair umpire, will be equipped within an instrument that will measure the accurate height when the player serves.