Nozomi Okuhara has become the second Japanese to be ranked No. 1 in women’s singles, according to the Badminton World Federation’s latest list released on Tuesday.
The 24-year-old Okuhara — an Olympic bronze medalist and 2017 world champion — follows in the footsteps of current No. 4 Akane Yamaguchi, who topped the rankings in April 2018.
“I’m surprised,” said Okuhara, who was returning to Japan after finishing runner-up at the Denmark Open.
“I’m happy since it was one of my goals, but I’m not overjoyed at reaching No. 1 without winning a title (this year),” she told reporters at Narita Airport.
Other Japanese currently ranked No. 1 in the sport are men’s singles player Kento Momota and women’s doubles pair Wakana Nagahara and Mayu Matsumoto.