Zhang Jike retirement: ending his career

Zhang Jike Retirement?

Tournament and Event

It’s not the first time that Zhang Jike wants to announce his retirement. After the Rio Olympics Table Tennis 2016, he has said to his fan base:

“I am already prepared to retire,” said Zhang Jike in August 2016.

Yesterday, Friday 10th November, at the 2017 ITTF World Tour German Open in Magdeburg, Zhang Jike was easily beaten by Tiago Apolonia 1-4 (11-9, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9, 11-3). No motivation, no desire to win, many unforced errors, it’s very sad to see his game.

Zhang Jike lost to Apolonia Tiago 1-4 in the German Open 2017 Table Tennis
Zhang Jike lost to Apolonia Tiago 1-4 in the German Open 2017 Table Tennis

Why Zhang Jike lost so easily?

So many fans are excited about this return of Zhang Jike. Absent from the international scene since withdrawing injured in Chengdu, Zhang Jike is out in the top world ranking. We hope that Zhang Jike will make a beautiful come back this German Open 2017. But no!

Maybe you don’t know that actually there is a “mini-crisis” in the Chinese National Team. The real problem is not “why Zhang Jike lost”, but it is “No motivation to fight and to train anymore”.

Ex-head coach Liu Guoliang revealed in an interview after the Rio Olympic Games that Zhang Jike has thoughts of competing until the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. But since the depart of the head coach Liu Guoliang, many top seeds (Ma Long, Zhang Jike, Xu Xin and Fan Zhendong) are not satisfied at all of this reorganization.

We feel lonely! Said Ma Long on his Weibo

There was also the Chinese Boycott Scandal in the China Open. The trio (Ma Long, Xu Xin, Fan Zhendong) are also penalized by ITTF. There are 2 main reasons for this loss:

  • Lack of determination and motivation to fight (due to crisis in China Team)
  • Zhang Jike’s playing style is out-dated

Mini Crisis in the China Team

What is the real situation now?

  • The head coach Liu Guoliang is disappeared from the media, and from the coaching staff. No head coach anymore.
  • The head coach of the women team, Kong Linghui is dismissed by the fake “Gambling Scandal”. During the WTTC in Germany, he is sent back to China due to the Casino Gambling Debt.
  • Only lead coach, coach Qin Zhijian is now the lead coach of Men Team. He was the personal coach of Ma Long.
  • Coach Xiao Zhan, the personal coach of Zhang Jike, is moved to women team (not good at all). Zhang Jike feels alone in the Mean Team A.
  • Since the dismission of Kong Linghui, Li Sun is now the lead coach of Women Team

Due to the political reason (in the CPC and Olympics Committee level), there are many changes in the Chinese National Team. The athlete is also perturbed. This reorganization is a huge loss to Chinese Team. This year, we have seen upset and loss to the top Chinese player: Ma Long, Zhang Jike, Lin Gaoyuan.

The new coaching staff, Wang Hao, Ma Lin didn’t help much in the Psychological, and Tactical aspects. They need to be more determined and more prioritize to the players.

Chinese Team are searching for replacement

To deal with this crisis, Chinese Team are quickly searching and training the new replacement for the team A, and team B. During this Chinese Super League, Liu Guozheng (now the head coach of Men Team B) is responsible to search the new players to team B. The national team has selected the best 3 athletes Yang Yinghao, Xiang Peng and Kuang Li to join the Men’s B Team.

The Team A will have a big change, with some new and young names: Ren Hao, Zhao Zihao, Niu Guankai and Zhang Yudong. The 12 athletes were divided into 2 groups:  less than 20 years old in Group B and the older than 21 years old in Group A.

Promotion and Secure Position in Team A
Promotion and Secure Position in Team A

Will Zhang Jike end his sports career?

In National Team, Zhang Jike is hugely supported by the head coach Liu Guoliang. Since there is no Liu anymore, Zhang Jike is not a favorited top player in China Team. Liu Guoliang said “Zhang Jike would participate Olympics Tokyo 2020”. But this won’t happen!

Zhang Jike lost the driving force. Liu Guoliang said

“As for Zhang Jike, it depends on him. If he feels that playing is interesting then he has a very big chance, unless he feels weary and tired,”

Liu Guoliang, the big driving force, and protector of Zhang Jike
Liu Guoliang, the big driving force, and protector of Zhang Jike

In China, since the Asian Championship, everybody was talking about the “new trend in table tennis”. Table tennis has changed a lot with the new ball. There is no time for “explosiveness”, and such as “quality spin ball”. Now, every ball is hit sooner, faster, and stronger.

With the new ball, an athlete is required to hit sooner and play to the wide angle. That’s the key to success of the Japanese players (Harimoto Tomokazu, and Miu Hirano) who relied on speed and fast counter-attack to win in table tennis.

Zhang Jike’s playing-style is totally out-dated!

Zhang Jike’s retirement

On the Chinese forum, people all know the ending day of Zhang Jike is very soon. Or at least, he will focus more to the Media aspect. Not because of his injury, but because he is not as ferrous anymore with his attack style. Ma Long and Fan Zhendong have adapted a lot to improve the power of both backhand and forehand attack. However, Zhang Jike failed to do that. As he relies on “explosiveness” and “physical fitness”. Each time, he tried to force himself, he has injuries. Sadly but true.

It’s time to say goodbye, to one of the legend in table tennis, the player who has the best foundation (technique, footwork, backhand, spin) in table tennis.

Zhang Jike retirement: ending his career
Zhang Jike retirement: ending his career

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