Zheng Minzhi started playing table tennis when she was 12. After being selected for a sports school at 14, she later attended a national sports institute. In 1965, she and her partner Lin Huiqing won the World Table Tennis Championships in Women's Doubles in Yugoslavia. Competition was banned for four years during the Cultural Revolution, and while training was banned, Zheng practised on her own in secret. She and Lin returned to the 1971 World Table Tennis Championships in Japan, again winning the Women's Doubles. Following her successes at the World Table Tennis Championships, Zheng participated in ping-pong diplomacy, visiting the United States in 1972. She met her husband, a specialist in shogi, at a Shanghai sports school. They have a son.