by Simon Daish
Known for his lightning quick footwork and his powerful attacking game Fan Zhendong made headlines from an early age becoming World Junior champion in 2012 before picking up the gold medal in the Men’s Singles competition at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games.
Since then he has grown from strength to strength and is set to make his third appearance at a World Championships.
Making his debut at the 2013 tournament in Paris Fan Zhendong reached the Round of 32, but his personal best run in the Men’s Singles category at a World Championships came two years later at Suzhou 2015 where he defeated the likes of Japan’s Koki Niwa (11-5, 12-14, 11-2, 11-2, 11-9) and Germany’s Timo Boll (12-10, 11-9, 8-11, 11-7, 13-15, 11-7) on his way to a bronze medal finish.
Partnering up with Zhou Yu in the Men’s Doubles tournament Fan Zhendong received a silver medal at Suzhou 2015, and could be set for more doubles joy in Düsseldorf.
Fan Zhendong demonstrated his amazing potential in Suzhou and has continued his success story ever since.
The Chinese star went on to claim the Men’s Singles title at the 2015 ITTF-Asian Championships later in the year, and in 2016 Fan Zhendong claimed the Men’s Singles trophies at the Laox 2016 ITTF World Tour Japan Open, SheSays 2016 ITTF World Tour China Open and the Liebherr 2016 Men’s World Cup picking up victories over fellow countrymen Zhang Jike, Xu Xin and Ma Long over the course of the year.
2016 proved to be a strong year for Fan Zhendong, and the 20-year-old looks set to pull off more great achievements in the year ahead, having enjoyed a positive start to 2017.
February saw Fan Zhendong finish in the runners-up position at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Qatar Open with only the top ranked player in the world Ma Long finishing ahead of him in the Men’s Singles event.
More recently at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF-Asian Championships in Wuxi, Fan Zhendong received a huge confidence boost after he defended his Men’s Singles crown with a straight games success against Korea Republic’s Jeong Sangeun in the final (11-5, 11-5, 11-8), having eliminated Zhang Jike from the competition in the previous round (12-10, 11-4, 5-11, 11-4).
Fan Zhendong has already won some of the most prestigious trophies in the sport despite only turning 20 in January of this year, but will he leave Düsseldorf with a big smile on his face? The answer to that question will be revealed very soon.