By Henry Chen
“As for Zhang Jike, it depends on him. If he feels that playing is interesting then he has a very big chance, unless he feels weary and tired.”
That was the comment of Liu Guoliang on whether Zhang Jike can still adhere for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
The 28-year old Grand Slam champion performed relatively well in the recently concluded Rio Olympic Games. He fulfilled his mission in the Singles as he reached the finals against Ma Long. In the Team event, he managed to stay unbeaten throughout the competition, a much better performance than London.
Liu Guoliang, in fact, had a high level of trust on Zhang Jike in the very engaging final match against Japan. If worse came to worst, the head coach believed that Zhang Jike can still save the team.
“If the round reached the fifth match, I believe that Zhang Jike would be able to win against Jun Mizutani because he has the heart to do it,” Liu Guoliang explained.
Zhang Jike’s strength is his reliable psychological abilities and that’s the reason why he was arranged to be the third person in that final bout. People may not have witnessed a very spectacular exhibition from Zhang Jike in Rio but definitely it was a reliable performance.
Following the successful fulfilment of his assignment in Rio, Zhang Jike took his free time to interact with his fans through an online application called XiaoMi. That’s where he first revealed his thoughts on retirement.
“I’m ready to get back and retire,” Zhang Jike said. “I am telling this to everyone in advance. Please calm down. Very tired, I could not move well. You said that I’ve got all the accomplishments so what’s more to fight for.”
Zhang Jike has successfully conquered the most important competitions in table tennis. Although he can be the first ever to achieve a second round of Grand Slam in Tokyo, he thinks that four years is a lot of time.
“Sooner or later, there will come a day that I will retire. I can not fight until 50 years old,” he added.
Lastly, to ease his already sobbing fans, Zhang Jike said: “But I would fight for you. It will also be a happy thing.”