A true international star, Denmark’s Peter Gade retires at the end of December at his last tournament, the Copenhagen Masters in his home country, Denmark.
Peter returned to the world’s elite in 2002 following a potentially career-threatening knee injury. After seven months of intense training he returned to the world stage by winning the YONEX US Open 2002 winning with the style and agility that he had before his injury.
Peter has flown the flag for Europe, remaining at the top of the men’s game for more than 15 years. He has been a consistent force for Europe whilst battling with the world’s best players who all traditionally are from the Asian badminton powerhouses - China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan plus others.
He has always combined genuine sportsmanship with a true battling sprit, competing for every single point.
It is this passion, dedication and single-minded will to win that will ensure he remains a favourite of badminton fans from, not just his home nation, Denmark but from around the globe.
Peter Gade has played badminton since childhood. Recently retired, in this interview Peter looks back on his amazing 20-year career at the top of international badminton, during which he has won numerous titles and has fought back from serious injury to win yet again at the highest level. Throughout his illustrious career YONEX has always supported him; it’s as if YONEX and Peter have grown up together…
I first picked up a YONEX racquet when I was 12 years old and went on to win my first national title. When I was about 14 or 15 years old, I was lucky enough to be offered a contract with YONEX and I have never looked back.
At that time YONEX was already a world renowned badminton brand, so I was very happy to say the least.
I remember with great affection my ISOMETRIC 300, which I used as a teen pro. At the time, it was a revolutionarily flexible model and I still recall the moment when I first tried this YONEX racquet, it was so much better than any of its competitors. It sounds naïve now but back then it was amazing to me how a simple change in racquet could make such a big difference. With the ISOMETRIC 300 it felt like I was able to reach another level.
As I became more experienced I was invited by YONEX to join their advisory staff testing new products. This gave me the opportunity to try out many of their latest products, straight out of the YONEX design labs; I’m always amazed by their innovation, YONEX seem to constantly push the boundaries of technology and I’ve been a massive beneficiary of the YONEX passion for innovation and their attention to detail.
This passion helped give me achieve my greatest victory, defeating Lin Dan at the China Masters in 2006. He was (and still is) one of the world’s greatest players, so I was very pleased to beat him in front of all his home support. At the time, I was using the ARMORTEC 700 and it is with this racquet that I have forged many great memories. It was a great period in my badminton life.
Recently I’ve been using the VOLTRIC 80 because it allows me to hit more powerful shots with its head-heavy balance yet it still remains easy and comfortable to use. From the moment I first used this racquet I knew that it was right for me.
I never change my racquet without careful consideration even though I’ve often had a “this is it” feeling when I’ve tried new YONEX products. But as soon as I started using the VOLTRIC 80 I immediately knew that the technologies in this racquet perfectly suited my playing style - you could almost say that the racquet chose me!
In my opinion racquets that YONEX produce are always the best by far. It is important to remember that YONEX technology focuses on three key areas: Power, Speed and Control and because all YONEX racquets embody variations of all of these three areas, any player will be able to find a model to suit their game and help them reach the next level.
All I can say is how happy I’ve been as a pro badminton player and with the support that YONEX has given me throughout all of my competitive years. This support has enabled me to make full use of the YONEX product range, from sportswear to shuttlecocks, all of which blends craftsmanship with cutting edge technology.
However, I must say, the support from YONEX goes beyond the professional, throughout my twenty year career the stability and faith they’ve had in me has enabled me to compete with complete confidence before any big match.
Despite defeats and set-backs, that occur when you compete at the highest level, the faith YONEX has shown in me has kept me mentally strong. Every time I stepped out onto court, I can honestly say that I had total belief that I would step off victorious.
So much of sport at this level is in the mind and YONEX really understand this. They have given me a stable platform so that during my career I’ve been World Number and I’m currently World Number five – not bad for someone who is retiring!
I’m deeply grateful to the supporters who’ve cheered my every match. To them I say that I gave 100%, fought for every point and thank you for encouraging me to play out of my skin.
The support from YONEX and my fans has been my inspiration throughout my career. I feel like I could still compete and win – but I think it is now time to bow out gracefully.
It is testament to YONEX and to the fans that I’m still full of confidence and will carry on enjoying badminton, which is such an amazing sport.
To YONEX, to the fans and to badminton itself, my sincere thanks.
See you on a court somewhere soon!
Peter’s success and tournament titles are wholly down to his constant hard work talent and passion for the game. But in a way those he has competed against at the highest level for 15 years have become a community of players; sometimes rivals, often friends, all colleagues in the sport of badminton. Supported by one another they keep their passion for the game of badminton alive.
Here these friends and fellow competitors send their messages to Peter:
Peter Gade is an exceptional player. He is a truly talented player, with his own style. I really appreciate his life-long contribution to world badminton and I will cherish the memories of his many success stories. His new career means that the world will see another great coach.
I like to take my tea with sugar and to me the tour without Peter will be like drinking tea without sugar, just not the same.
The grace and poise that Peter played with is more like an art form and is very different to the style of the players of today who seem all to use power and speed. Peter was always the player I wanted to avoid playing in a tournament. He has been a great ambassador for the sport his record together with his great sportsmanship and approachable manner will be missed on the tour.
I thank peter for sharing his passion and experience with me on and off court. I´ve learned a lot from him and he was always open to share his point of view! Congratulations for a great career and all the best for the future!!
Peter Gade is one of the greatest players in Denmark over time. He is very professional and did always his very best at every practice. If you were on the same court as Peter at practice, you really had to step up.
Peter has been a great role model for many young players, including myself. He always acts professional and does his best.
One funny thing I will always remember from Peter is that he once lost a 'Warming-up-game’ called English double against 3 girls - Kamilla Rytter Juhl, Tine Baun and me. We think he was not satisfied with that result, and we found it very funny :-)
When Peter Gade finally laid down his racquet at the end of 2012 it felt like the end of an era. He has been amongst the top players for such a long time that it is very sad for his fans, and the badminton world as a whole, to see him bow out. But considering the hugely competitive nature of the sport it is was an astounding achievement in itself to have remained at the top for 15 years.
Peter became world no.1 in 1997, following which came his greatest tournaments wins: the YONEX ALL ENGLAND OPEN in 1999 and the YONEX OPEN JAPAN two years in a row, in 1998 and 1999. Here we take a look at these historic victories.
YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships, founded in 1899, is the most famous and prestigious tournament in the world. Winning the All England is the holy grail of badminton. Plus, 1999 was the 100th anniversary. It doesn’t come weightier than that. In front of a crowd of 20,000 the world’s players fought it out and of course the men’s singles was the one everyone was watching. In the final, Peter Gade faced the 17-year-old Taufik Hidayat, who had defeated the gold medalist from the Atlanta Olympics, Poul-Erik Høyer Larsen, en route to the final. Peter played out of his skin for 1 hour and a half against the budding genius. There was nothing to choose between them. Point by point they fought it out in a searing contest of nerve, fitness and skill. One of the closest finals ever resulted in Peter just managing to hold on to capture the greatest prize in Badminton. Peter’s celebrations were memorably ecstatic; after all, he had cemented his position as world no1. Meanwhile, as we all know, his young opponent would grow in stature…
In the run up to YONEX OPEN JAPAN 1998 there was no clear favourite. The competition for the top place in world badminton at that time was incredibly fierce. It was anyone’s guess as to who would take the title. But then a new and powerful 21-year-old called Peter Gade from Denmark stepped onto the stage and put an end to the confusion. As soon as YONEX OPEN JAPAN began Peter won each of his games in straight sets. He was in a different league. In the final he blew Luo Yigang of China away. Peter had arrived like a force of nature.
In the following year Peter was the favourite to win YONEX OPEN JAPAN, especially after winning the YONEX All England Open in March. So the pressure was on the world no 1 to deliver. And deliver he did. Peter overwhelmed opponents from the first round and won all his matches in straight sets. The World’s No. 1 faced the No. 2 (Sun Jun of China) in the final. Sun Jun began aggressively with a daring attack but Peter defended himself in a series of superb rallies of astonishing speed and footwork. Peter turned Sun Jun’s attack against him and went on to win the tournament without ever having dropped a set – for the second year running. Moreover, at the time of this win Peter Gade became only the second player in badminton history to win a world title consecutively, following Ardy Wiranata of Indonesia.
(In the 30 years history of YONEX OPEN JAPAN, there are still only 3 players who have achieved winning the Men’ Singles in consecutive years).
YONEX are exceptionally proud of the long partnership we have had with Peter Gade. Throughout his career YONEX has provided Peter with all his equipment and we like to think that this has supported the Great Dane as he forged his achievements. YONEX has been by Peter’s side through the highs and the lows, the long drawn out battles and the swift victories. Here we look at seven of his most famous racquets.