By Henry Chen
The Liebherr 2016 Men’s World Cup concluded last 3rd October with an all-Chinese affair in the final round. It was Xu Xin against Fan Zhendong, both having high expectations in this new Olympic cycle.
In five games, the 19-year old Fan Zhendong reached a new height in his career. Meanwhile, Xu Xin already saw a fierce competition in the next four years.
Despite the possibilities of Ma Long and Zhang Jike in the next Olympic Games, focus could be slowly shifting to the next men in line. Xu Xin is one of them.
Xu Xin has originally been positioned after Ma Long and Zhang Jike in the Chinese Men’s Team. So after the Rio Olympic Games, Xu Xin is normally perceived to be the next player who would uphold the Chinese glory in table tennis.
Xu Xin, who just participated in the Rio Olympic team competition, clearly aims to finally qualify for the Olympic Singles in Tokyo in 2020. More than that, Xu Xin’s ultimate desire is to be a Grand Slam champion, winning the World Championships and the Olympic Singles gold.
However, recent developments would prove that he is into a very big challenge before he can achieve such success.
That big challenge could be Fan Zhendong. Recently, this teenage player has been unstoppable. He won competitions in both domestic and international arenas. He first defeated Ma Long in the 2016 China Open Men’s Singles final, then later on secured the 2016 Chinese National Championships.
Fan Zhendong has a strong sense of determination and ambition. At a young age, he already knows his deepest desires as an athlete. He is a focused player and he is always ready for anything.
This is the kind of challenge Xu Xin is facing in this new Olympic cycle.