04 Nov 2016

Winner of the Liebherr Men’s World Cup in Saarbrücken, plus success on the ITTF World Tour in Japan and China, has earned 19 year old Fan Zhendong one of the four nominations for Male Star of the Year, the winner to be announced at the 2016 ITTF Star Awards Evening to be staged in Doha, Qatar on Thursday 8th December.

Notably on all three occasions it was Chinese colleagues who were put the sword; in Saarbrücken and Tokyo it was Xu Xin, in Chengdu it was Ma Long.

by Henry Chen & Ian Marshall

Accepted the wins on the ITTF World Tour were in Super Series events, the highest category but they were nothing new; he had six such similar titles under his belt before the clock struck midnight at the start of the year.

The new factor was the win at the Liebherr 2016 Men’s World Club; that success took Fan Zhendong to new heights, it wrote his name in roll of honour of those who had won one of the most celebrated tournaments on the international calendar.

“Everyone can vote for their favourite player! For example, me.” Fan Zhendong wrote on his Weibo account.

Reasons for the win, we can consider the style of Fan Zhendong; arguably the greatest counter top spin player ever to grace the table tennis arenas of the world was his colleague, Wang Liqin but is Fan Zhandong not even stronger at the art?

It makes him one of the safest players of the modern era; the fact that time and again he can find a way to put that ball on the table one more time than his opponent maintains the pressure on his adversary at crucial moments.

However, I would suggest that there is one more arguably even more important reason why he won in Saarbrücken; he had learned from bitter experience what to do and what not to do in the crucial stage of a big final.

At the 2015 Grand Finals in Lisbon in December, he led compatriot Ma Long, 6-3 in the deciding seventh game; he lost the next seven points and eventually the match!

Nine months later when the chance arose at the Liebherr Men’s World Cup, Fan Zhendong was wiser; he knew exactly the approach needed when the winning post loomed.

Now, need a player to win a crucial match for your team; there is a strong vote for Fan Zhendong.

2016 ITTF Star Awards: Click here to cast your vote

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E-mail: [email protected]
Voting closes on Sunday 13th November

ITTF Star Awards Fan Zhendong

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