Hans Kristian Vittinghus had Sydney Olympic champion Tony Gunawan as a guest on his podcast channel last month. During the podcast which lasted for about 48 minutes a lot of insightful things were discussed.
Tony Gunawan is a former Indonesian badminton player who has moved to the United States and is still actively involved in the sport as a coach. He is famous for winning the men’s doubles world championships title with two different partners and by representing two different countries (2001, Indonesia and 2005, USA).
In addition to playing and coaching in the US, he also coached Japan’s Tonami club which features players like Takeshi Kamura, Keigo Sonoda, Takuro Hoki, Yugo Kobayashi among others.
In the podcast, when asked about the differences in the men’s doubles style between the present and the past, Gunawan replied, “I think right now the biggest change is (that) men’s doubles focus more on attacking, little bit faster pace… Before (in the past) if there is trouble I just defend first. Now it’s forcing you to counter-attack.”
Gunawan also gave his view on the current top doubles pair in the world, “Marcus (Gideon)/ Kevin (Sanjaya Sukamuljo) have extremely fast reflexes. (Mohammad) Ahsan / Hendra (Setiawan) play tactical and (are) easy to see, not attacking at any time but they are defending to direct a counterattack. Besides that, Goh (V Shem) / Tan (Wee Kiong) is also fun to watch.”
Host Vittinghus also asked about the main difference in the playing style between Indonesian and Japanese doubles players as Gunawan had the experience of coaching in Japanese clubs. He answered, “I think Indonesian players are more creative, are brave enough to make mistakes. While Japanese players are more afraid of making mistakes, so they play with more of speed and power. They need to play more creative. But their (Japanese players’) work ethic is one of the best.”