Peter Gade Christensen was one of few who could match Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei on his day, and the Danish great recently revealed one of greatest duels he witnessed was their epic final at the 2011 World Championships.
Gade, Lin Dan, Lee and Taufik Hidayat are known of as four of the greatest shuttlers of their era and even in the history of the sport, as they crossed paths for a close to a decade since the turn of the century.
The former men’s singles ace, in a recent interview with fellow countrymen Hans Kristian-Vittinghus and Anders Antonsen on The Badminton Experience, shed light on that classic final.
“I had a great feeling finishing my final World Championships playing Lin Dan, and then watching him and Chong Wei play maybe one of the most incredible matches I have watched from the sidelines.
“I think I was holding to a Red Bull trying to gain some energy, and was in awe with that match. I knew there was nothing to be sad or angry about. With these two players, you can be proud to push them on occasions and I was proud of that,” he said.
Lin Dan won the final with a 20-22, 21-14, 23-21 victory over Lee.
In the quarter-finals of that spectacle held at the Wembley Arena, Gade was pushed to the limit before prevailing in three games against Vietnamese Nguyen Tien Minh to set up a meeting with Lin Dan.
“I remember finishing that game and physically I was quite drained. But I knew I had to perform at a respectable level against him. So after resting and having something to eat, I went out for a jog at around 2:30 in the morning.
“The semis was in the afternoon. As much was it meant a lot representing Denmark and wanting to win medals, I also wanted to play Lin Dan. That was the goal,” he said.
Gade went down fighting against the five-time world champ in that semis, but still managed to secure his final medal at the World Championships.
Like Lee, Gade had also never won a World Championships, or an Olympic gold medal.
But the former world number one had no regrets on how his career panned out.
“Of course I wanted these trophies to be part of my career, but in the end you don’t actually end up thinking so much about these things. You think a lot about what life at this level meant to you, and the processes of working with different coaches and players.
“I’m proud I was able to bring inspiration to a lot of players and fans all around the world.”