Viktor Axelsen, the 2017 World Champion from Denmark, has many strengths that push him to the top but as well as weaknesses that are preventing him from consistently winning tournaments. Let’s analyze Viktor Axelsen’s badminton and see how his game can help us.
As of January 26, 2019,
Date of Birth: January 4, 1994
Racket Model: Yonex Duora Z Strike
World Ranking: 6
Highest Ranking: 1
Career Titles: 11
Dominant Hand: Right
Type of Player: Men’s Singles
Strengths and Weaknesses
Viktor Axelsen is one of the tallest players in badminton men’s singles sitting at the height of 194 cm or 6’4″. Being tall gives Viktor Axelsen various strengths but as well as weaknesses that other players can abuse. We’ll talk more about how Viktor plays around his strengths, but first, you’ll need to know the actual advantages that Viktor has.
One of the most notable strengths of being tall is that you get a much steeper smash, and Viktor Axelsen proves it. Viktor Axelsen’s greatest strength is his offensive play with his steep and powerful smash.
Other elements that make his offensive play so good are his cross court net shots and ability to cut off a lot of push shots. Viktor Axelsen has also been practicing his defense a lot in the past few years, so his retrieval skill has gone up quite a bit.
That being said, returning the shuttle is still one of Viktor’s weaknesses simply due to his physicality. Let’s dive deeper.
One of the most glaring weaknesses of Viktor Axelsen is also his height. Being tall means that more energy is used moving around and bending down to lift.
Strategies professionals tend to use against Viktor Axelsen, and other tall players are avoid lifting as much as possible unless they move up too close. Playing lots of drops and net shots against Viktor Axelsen tires him out and also frustrates him because he wants to play the powerful smashes but can’t.
Have you ever felt the frustration of having a powerful smash but not being able to use it?
I’ve certainly had and to not get tired out or mentally break during a tight match is near impossible. Viktor Axelsen’s mentality is a little bit weaker than other top players. You can often see Viktor yelling and making more mistakes when he loses multiple points in a row especially against players with excellent defense and consistency such as Chen Long.
Viktor Axelsen’s footwork is also somewhat slower because he is so used to reaching very far. This makes him prone to net flicks towards the backhand if he oversteps the front. Since his footwork isn’t as fast as other pro players, badminton players that can beat him at the net will be able to turn around the momentum and force Viktor to play a rally of lifts.
Another weakness of all tall players is body smashes. Since the limbs of tall players are longer, it’s challenging to block smashes headed towards the dominant arm and the body.
With a strong smash but weaker retrieval skills, Viktor Axelsen undoubtedly wants to be on the attacking side.
Here’s how he would generally set things up. Viktor would use cross court net shots to make his opponents move further and try to force the opponent to lift. Then he would move into the back, smash and then cross court net shot once again to continue the attack if his opponents are able to get his smashes.
Because his straight smashes are so fast, it’s often challenging for his opponents to react and control the shuttle to different places. They can only block straight in which Viktor uses an offensive fast cross court net shot to maintain the momentum. After blocking a smash, most players aren’t fast enough, they have to lift allowing Viktor to smash again.
If a player is able to force Viktor onto the defensive, you can expect to see lots of diving from him and attempts to force a lift in the form of net shots and drops.
Usually, players that have a superior defense and can defend against Viktor’s smashes such as Chen Long, Kento Momota, and Lee Chong Wei is the people that will win since Viktor will eventually give out mentally.
Viktor Axelsen, while only having 11 career titles compared to other former number 1 players in the world, he’s had some great success internationally with the most memorable title being the 2017 World Championship at Glasgow. Here are some more of his achievements:
- 2018 Huelva European Championships Gold
- 2016 La Roche-sur-Yon European Championships Gold
- 2017 BWF Super Series Finals Gold
- 2017 Japan Open Gold
With the recent rearrival of Kento Momota and Chen Long becoming even better, Viktor Axelsen has struggled a bit because of these two playstyles. But without doubt, if Viktor can increase his speed and up his mentality, he will continue to have success in the future.
Viktor Axelsen, a tall, aggressive player that has his pitfalls. But Viktor is always training hard, and every time he loses, he comes back stronger and does even better than before.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them down below. As always, go out and play some badminton and have a great day!