Marcus ELLIS and Lauren SMITH (ENG)
Age: 33 (Ellis), 31 (Smith)
Partners since: 2017
Current Ranking: 12
Highest Ranking: 7 (June 2018)
The highest-ranked pair from the birthplace of modern badminton have grown from leaps and bounds since they first played together as a pair five years ago in the German Open and will be growing together given the fact that they are also bonded well off the court as a real-life couple.
Safe to say, they have inherited the mantle of the recently-retired married couple of Chris and Gabby Adcock as the primary bet of not just England, but also to the British Isles themselves.
Both Yorkshireman Ellis and Cumbrian Smith have an extensive career as doubles specialists on their own right before taking the court together. It is said that their experience in same-gender doubles has formed a unique chemistry for the duo on and off the court.
Smith have compiled a total of 13 women’s doubles titles on the tour, in which she won her first in Portugal in 2010 with Grimsby native Alexandra Langley. She later had forged a more successful partnership with Sussex’s Heather Olver, where they won four tour titles and made the final on further five tournaments.
Later on, Smith won three Commonwealth games medals (1 bronze, 2 silvers) with three different partners.
On the other hand, Ellis had won a dozen titles in the men’s doubles, eight of which came with Surrey native Chris Langridge in which they have done well in the major tournaments.
In 2016, they ended a 12-year Olympic medal drought for Team GB when they outlasted China’s Chai Biao and Hong Wei to clinch the bronze. And two years later at the Gold Coast, they’ve connived to sweep India’s Shetty and Rankireddy, ending a longer wait for a Commonwealth men’s doubles gold that spanned four decades.
Which brings us to the pairing of Smith and Ellis, in which they have won four of their five tour titles in 2018, a year after bowing to compatriots Ben Lane and Jessica Pugh in Italy.
Their first major medal happened in that same year, where they settled for a Commonwealth Games silver after they were outlasted by the Adcocks the Gold Coast.
In 2019, they won their first European Games crown in Minsk, avenging their defeat to the aforementioned husband-and-wife duo in an all-GB final to complete a golden whitewash in which they won all of their matches in just two games.
The Smith and Ellis tandem also settled for a bronze and a silver in the European Championships, and in 2022, added another Commonwealth Games silver in Birmingham after losing to Singapore’s Terry Hee and Jessica Tan.
However, their golden aim at the World Championships and in the Olympics still remain for both Ellis and Smith, where the highest they have reached is in the quarterfinals in the latter in Tokyo, having yet to break the third-round wall at the former.