by Wade Townsend
Today marks five years since Zhang Jike completed his Grand Slam, only the fourth male athlete to do so. The shoe kissing, shirt ripping superstar reached the milestone with flair, marching in to the history books in record time, achieving the feat in just 445 days.
Consecutively he won the GAC 2011 World Championships in Rotterdam, the Liebherr 2011 World Cup in Paris, and then lastly the 2012 London Olympic Games.
To celebrate, fans around the world have proclaimed the 2nd August as Zhang Jike Day.
While we shouldn’t expect a public holiday to be appearing on calendars any time soon, the day does give table tennis fans to reflect on the legacy the Chinese sportsman continues to build.
Not only has he secured medals and records, but also his style of play has defined the modern game. Zhang’s reverse serve and chiquita backhand flick are legendary, and have been copied and imitated in training halls in every corner of the globe.
While he has taken titles from table tennis, he has given back so much more.
The table tennis titan is quite simply larger than life, so how would you feel about meeting your idol in the flesh? Well ITTF gave two lucky Chinese fans the chance to meet their idol at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships. Checkout their experience below.
Is it possible for Zhang to win in Tokyo 2020 Olympics and secure a double Grand Slam? Would that mean a second Zhang Jike Day on the calendar?
Comment below what your favourite Zhang Jike moment is and whether or not you think fans will see the Grand Slam winner back on top of the podium again.