Do you love table tennis or ping pong? Let me introduce you to some of the best and most unique players of this sport.
Fan Zhendong's Background
Fan's family is from Hunan province of China. Due to work, his parents moved to Guangdong province. On January 22, 1997, Fan Zhendong was born in Guangzhou city, Guangdong province. That makes him an Aquarius. When he was a little boy, Fan was absolutely adorable. With a slightly chubby face and body, he was given the nickname "Little Fatty." Many fans have speculated about his family. Some say that he is from a migrant worker's family. But others say that his parents are highly educated and they are in the middle class. No one knows for sure. Let's try to keep his private life and family members out of the spotlight.
Fan Zhendong's Younger Days
When Fan Zhendong was a child, he was a very good student and consistently got high grades in school. His teachers also commented that Fan was smart, obedient, and dedicated to learning. This is not surprising because Fan is such a brilliant table tennis player that shows so much tenacity to reach and stay at the very top. Fan started playing table tennis because his family was able to get a huge discount on school fees. Initially, Fan was only practicing table tennis part time. However, his incredible talent was soon discovered by his coaches. They saw huge potential in the young boy and thought that he might reach the top eventually. By 2008, an 11-year-old Fan had already won several championships in youth world table tennis matches.
Fan Zhendong's Nicknames
This popular athlete has several nicknames. He is affectionally known as "Little Fatty" or "Xiao Pang" in Chinese. Due to his slightly larger build, he has been teased by many as fat in an affectionate way. Fan's teammate, Zhang Jike, gave him another nickname, "World's Number 1 Cutest Boy." Nowadays, most people refer to Fan as "Dong Ge" or "Dong Big Brother" because of his dominance in table tennis. Fan has earned respect through his hard work. He is now finally acknowledged not only for his cute looks but also his excellence in the sport of table tennis.
Fan Zhendong's Debut in the Adult Ping-Pong Competitions
Fan started playing in adult competitions at the age of 16. This is an extremely young age for Chinese players to debut in international table tennis. Known as ping-pong in China, table tennis is the national sport for the most populous country. There are tons of extremely talented ping-pong players in China. Being selected at 16 is a feat all in its own. Fan didn't disappoint. He immediately became one of the top players in China's National Table Tennis Team before he turned 18. Nowadays, he is the new flag bearer for the team.
Table Tennis World Cup Competitions
Fan Zhendong took the gold medal at the Table Tennis World Cup competitions in 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. That's five gold medals for a 24-year-old athlete. He has shown how powerful and dominant he is at such a young age. In 2020, Fan took the gold medal by winning the finals against Ma Long, one of the best table tennis players in history. In 2021, he defended his title by beating the talented Japanese player Harimoto Tomokazu.
World Table Tennis Championships
The World Table Tennis Championships are held every other year. Fan Zhendong has been very close to taking the gold medal at this event several times. He got the silver medal in 2017 by losing to senior teammate Ma Long, who is arguably one of the greatest players in the sport. In 2021, Ma Long did not participate in this competition. However, Fan still had lots of very strong competitors. It was with his great skills and nerves of steel that Fan finally took the gold medal at this event in 2021.
Table Tennis Olympics
In 2016, Fan Zhendong was selected as the backup player at the Rio Olympics for China. Unfortunately, he was not able to play. In 2021, Fan was finally picked by the Chinese National Team to play both the singles and team event. Again, Fan lost to the best table tennis player, Ma Long, in the finals. He was only able to get a silver medal in the men's singles event. However, he won his first gold medal in the men's team event. At only 24 years old, he can still make at least one more trip to the Summer Olympics to get his singles gold medal. Let's hope the best for this talented young athlete.
Fan Zhendong's Playing Style
Fan Zhendong is known for his quick footwork and explosive attacks. One of the main advantages of Fan is his powerful body. He is able to force his opponents to the backcourt with explosive forehand and backhand attacks. He wins the point through skill and power. However, Fan is still lacking in variability to confuse his opponents. He still needs to learn from his rival and teammate Ma Long. Nevertheless, Fan is constantly improving his game through offense, defense, and mixing up his serves. Since his debut in the adult competitions, Fan has already won many gold medals. Fan's era of dominance in table tennis is just starting with the aging Ma Long going into retirement.
His Signature Reverse Pendulum Serve
If you watch Fan Zhendong's matches, you will notice his signature reverse pendulum serve. Fan's backhand is extremely lethal. He uses this advantage in many of his matches. With the reverse pendulum serve, he is able to generate lots of different spins depending on small differences in his hand motion. This type of strong spin is very difficult for his opponents to return. With a weak return to Fan Zhendong, he quickly attacks with his backhand and wins the point. Lately, Fan has not utilized his signature reverse pendulum serve as much. He has drastically improved his forehand and continues to make his game even more lethal. However, Fan still uses his signature reverse pendulum serve in the most difficult matches.