by Henry Chen
“I have not reached my best yet”, Fan Zhendong.
At a young age of 19, Fan Zhendong is already very advanced compared to other players his age. He has demonstrated rapid development and impressive performances in and out of China.
However, he is aware that what he has achieved now is not yet his optimum.
In the recent proceedings in Doha, Qatar, Fan Zhendong didn’t fully gain the spotlight. He was nominated for the third time in the Best Male Star category but lost to the Olympic champion Ma Long. It seems that his feat in the Liebherr 2016 Men’s World Cup was not enough.
Fan Zhendong performed in a more than satisfactory manner at the Seamaster Qatar 2016 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals. He was strong on his way to the final round. However, in the ultimate battle, Fan Zhendong fell short against Ma Long.
Actually, after the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, he achieved positive results against Ma Long in two occasions.
Fan Zhendong beat Ma Long in the 2016 ITTF SheSays China Open Men’s Singles finals. It was his first victory against Ma Long on the international scene. In addition, it was not just an ordinary victory. He won in four straight games (11-9, 13-11, 11-8, 11-5).
The lead player in the Bayi Team, Fan Zhendong, then defeated the Olympic champion in the 2016 Chinese Super League round nine. The young player was the only one who had a perfect record in the individual performances at that time. Fan Zhendong was unbeaten for ten rounds in the league.
However those two victories didn’t stand a chance against Ma Long in the Grand Finals. Fan Zhendong settled for the runner-up, admitting that his level against Ma Long is not yet to par.
“Although I won twice, I know that I am still not really better than Ma Long. I still have a lot of things to learn from him”, Fan Zhendong