Badminton: New service ruling to be tested at All England C'ships a tall order, champs say

Lee Chong Wei and Viktor Axelsen have criticised the new badminton rule which says a shuttlecock shall be held less than 1.15m from a court's surface before serving.
Lee Chong Wei and Viktor Axelsen have criticised the new badminton rule which says a shuttlecock shall be held less than 1.15m from a court's surface before serving.PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - A controversial new badminton rule that may have put many of its taller players at a disadvantage has been panned by some of the sport's greats, local media reported.

The rule - which says a shuttlecock shall be held less than 1.15m from a court's surface before serving - will be tried out at the All England Open in Birmingham, which runs from March 14 to 18.

World No. 2 Lee Chong Wei criticised the new serve rule, which took effect on March 1.

"The Badminton World Federation (BWF) should have opted for small tournaments to test it," he was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times on Friday (March 9).

Lee, who will be playing in the All England Open, said he would have to make adjustments to his game.

"If I make a mistake with my serve during the All England (tournament), I will ask the umpire (about) the proper way to execute it," the Malaysian star said.

Lee is 1.72m, shorter than several other top-10 players.

In January, world No. 4 Viktor Axelsen - standing at 1.94m - was quoted by Malaysian daily The Star as calling the new rule "ridiculous".

In an April 2017 YouTube video, he was seen mocking the rule by squatting and kneeling while serving at a training session.

A November 2017 post on the BWF website quoted its president Poul-Erik Hoyer Larsen as saying it was "looking for new ways to improve how the service laws are applied".

BWF officials could not be reached for comment.