Yvonne & Iris, the Unlikely Pair

Yvonne & Iris, the Unlikely Pair
Yvonne Li coaching Iris Wang during a match at French Open 2021.

Touring the world as a shuttler from non-traditional badminton nations can sometimes be a lonely ride for those constantly travelling and training mostly on their own.

For USA’s Iris Wang and Germany’s Yvonne Li, a convenient arrangement to counter such loneliness has blossomed into a great friendship.

“We got on really well because our backgrounds are similar. We are both first immigrants and kids born outside China. Our humour is quite similar. We laugh at the same things and also she’s just really nice,” Wang, 28, told Badminton Unlimited recently.

Li, the 24-year-old also born to Chinese parents in Hamburg, Germany added about their relationship: “For many singles players, it’s hard to find a partner to spar or room with. You are almost more or less alone. So (it’s good) having someone going through nearly the same stuff and spar with each other, spend time together, eat together, hang out.”

That friendship eventually gave birth to a doubles partnership between players from two countries, a practice that has become rare in modern badminton.

Watch the upcoming Badminton Unlimited episode to find out how the tandem that debuted at March’s German Open evolved into being.


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