Tuesday 28 February 2012

Young Star rises in the United States of Ping Pong

I had the opportunity to interview a rising young star and the next generation of top player from the United States. It's fantastic to see young players from the States joining the world's best. Thanks for the interview Lily!

Full Name: Lily Zhang
Age: 15 years old
Date of Birth: June 16, 1996
Nation Represented: USA
Highest World Ranking: Womens: 125, Juniors: 15

Equipment Used:
Blade: Ishlion
FH Rubber: Tenergy 05
BH Rubber: Tenergy 05

Updated: Lily in action at the 2014 World Champs

Your Career:

How long have you been playing table tennis, when and how did you start?

I’ve been playing table tennis for around 8 years now. I started when I was 7 years old and my parents used to play for fun so I picked up on the sport.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career so far?

My parents are definitely a huge influence on everything I do, especially my table tennis career. They’ve been so supportive of me and encourage me to do what I love. I wouldn’t be where I am without them.

What is your biggest and proudest moment in table tennis to date?

I’ve had many great experiences in table tennis so I can’t say I have one specific experience that was the best.

What is your next big goal for table tennis?

My next goal is definitely to make the 2012 Olympics in London. I recently made it on the US Olympic team but we need to beat Canada in order to qualify.

What do you think the sport of table tennis is lacking around the world? What could be done to improve it from an international player’s perspective?

I wouldn’t say it’s lacking anything really, but I think if more people from more countries participated, it would definitely heighten the experiences. For example, it’s not really the most well know sport in the US but it is growing significantly.

Where has been your favourite place to train and play and why is this your favourite?

Again, I’ve had many great training places, but a few of the best is probably China and the club where I currently train, ICC. China has a very rigorous and effective training program and the coaches at my club are great and give me so much advice.

Lily Zhang at the Global Cadet Challenge
Image courtesy of Joola US

If you are winning 10-0 do you give a point or try and win 11-0?

I always give a point a 10-0 because I think that’s the right thing to do and it’s good sportsmanship.

You’ve already competed in an astounding 3 World Championships. What is the hardest thing about competing internationally at such a young age?

I think it’s actually great to compete at a young age. It gives you so much experience, and it’s absolutely amazing watching the top-ranked players in the world play.

You recently had some great success at the world junior championships, tell us a bit more about the experience and how you went.

World Junior Championships overall was a successful tournament for me, but there were also a few road bumps along the way. I wasn’t performing my best in the first few matches for teams but as the tournament went on, I became more relaxed and was able to play my real game. Although I would have liked to keep going, I lost in top 16 to China.

Off Topic Questions

Favourite food: Pasta, Sushi

Favourite Movie: The Notebook

Dream Car: For now, any car would be great since I don’t even have my license yet.

If you were stuck on a desert island, which table tennis player would you have with you there? Everybody! I can’t choose, it’s too hard!

First thing you would do if you won $1 Million: Roll around in the money! No just kidding, probably donate some, shop a bit, and save the rest.  

Lily Zhang (in black) plays Ariel Hsing

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