netoops blog

Friday, 22 February 2013

Interview with Lily Zhang

Lily Zhang is an American player and competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London with fellow Olympians Ariel Hsing and Erica Wu. She won the Women's Doubles title at the Qatar Peace and Sport Cup 2011. She is currently a member of the United States National Women's team and number 96 of world ranking.

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photo by Feng Li/Getty Images Europe

1. Where and when did you start playing Table Tennis?
I started playing table tennis when I was seven years old. My friend took me to a table tennis club with her and I started there.

2. Who or what influenced you in playing Table Tennis?
I loved table tennis since the moment I picked up the paddle. I never really took it seriously at first, but as I began to play more, the sport really started to have a serious effect on me and I quit everything else to really focus on table tennis.

3. What was your 1st club?
My first club was the Palo Alto Table Tennis Club.

4. Who are you training with daily?
I have several different coaches, but the head coach at my club is Massimo Constantini. I mainly practice at the ICC Table Tennis Center and the SVTTC.

5. What blade/rubber combination are you using?
I use Tenergy 05 for both sides of rubber.

6. What is your play style?
I play all around the table with normal rubber and spin.

7. How did you get to spend up to 140 in place number 96 in a one month?
Usually, I don't have as much time as other players to attend tournaments, but I have been working hard for a few months and at the World Junior Championships, I was able to play very well and improve my ranking considerably.

8. Is representing the US in the Olympic Games the highest accomplishment for an athlete?
Representing the US in the Olympics is definitely my highest accomplishment so far. The Olympics is a phenomenal event and being able to wear the US flag on my chest was such an honorable and humbling moment.

9. What is your next big goal at Table Tennis?
My next big goal is to attend the 2014 Youth Olympic Games and then the 2016 Olympic Games. I also hope to continue to progress in the world rankings.

10. If you were in the finals of a major tournament, how did you prepare your game mentally and technically?
The mental game is definitely a large part in table tennis and I always try to relax before every match. It is important to be a little nervous and focus during the match, but it is also crucial that you are so nervous you cannot perform your game.

11. Can you describe your national team?
The US National Team is in my opinion, a very special team. After the last generation of amazing players, we are a very young team and looking forward to many years to come. At the Olympics, we were the youngest team there by far, but it gives us an advantage of gaining more experience earlier and using these experiences to help us in the future.

12. Do you have a symbiotic relationship with them?
Yes, I've known my teammates for years, and we always travel to tournaments together.

13. What is the most memorable event of your career?
I've had many memorable moments that I will cherish forever, but the first ones that come to mind would probably be my Olympic qualification moment, going to the Olympics, and the 2012 US National Championship.

14. At what age did you start the national and international competitions?
I started playing national tournaments when I was 9 and started international tournaments at the age of 10.

15. What is your favorite player?
My favorite player for a while has been Zhang Yining. When she was still playing, she was an absolutely phenomenal player. I especially admired her mental game, where no matter the situation, she remained calm and composed and never showed any emotion of doubt or fear.

16. Do you prepare the world championships in May next on Paris?
Yes, I just finished playing the US Women's National Team Trials, so now I will start to prepare for the World Championships in Paris.

17. Have you already started to prepare for the 2016 Olympic Games?
I think every practice session and every tournament is part of the preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games so I guess in a way, I have started to prepare for the next Olympics.

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