Chou Tien-chen

Fourth-ranked Chou Tien Chen is undoubtedly the standard bearer of Chinese Taipei badminton, emerging as one of the best shuttlers hailing from that country. 

Since debuting in 2010, he won all but one of 18 ranking titles in men’s singles play as he moved from a relative unknown to a legitimate contender in a space of almost a decade. He made heads turn when he claimed the then-Bitburger Open (now named Hylo Open) championship three consecutive times from 2012 to 2014. 

Moreso, he became the first local since Fung Permadi in 1999 to win the Chinese Taipei Open, doing so in 2016. He then went on to lord over his home tournament twice more (2017 and 2019). Those and other victories contributed to his career best ranking of second. 

Chou showed why he is the main man for his Thomas Cup squad, helping them reach the quarterfinals on two occasions since the country initially participated in 2014. His next target is to crack the World Championships, as he has never gone past the quarterfinal round.