2013 World Table Tennis Championships, Paris
|Born||February 16, 1988|
Qingdao, Shandong, China
|Playing style||Right-handed, shakehand grip|
|Equipment(s)||Butterfly Viscaria FL, DHS Hurricane 3 National (FH-Black), Butterfly Tenergy 80 (BH-Red)|
|Highest ranking||1 (June to December 2012) |
|Current ranking||75 (March 2019)|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|Weight||73 kg (161 lb)|
Zhang became the fourth male player in the history of table tennis to achieve a career Grand Slam when he won gold in men's singles at the Olympic games in London 2012. The first three are Jan-Ove Waldner (in 1992), Liu Guoliang (in 1999), and Kong Linghui (in 2000). Zhang won the Grand Slam in only 445 days. He won, consecutively, first WTTC 2011, then World Cup 2011, and then London Olympics 2012, which made him the fastest player ever to win a Grand Slam. After the first Grand Slam, he won WTTC 2013 and World Cup 2014, which makes him the player who is closest to achieve a second career Grand Slam. He is one of the three male players who hold the most major titles in the table tennis history, at five. He is the only one who won 5 major titles in a row in the table tennis history.
On February 16, 1988, Zhang was born in Qingdao, Shandong Province to Zhang Chuanming (张传铭) and Xu Xiying (徐锡英). His father is a table-tennis coach. He was named after the Brazilian soccer player Zico.
According to his father, the first time Zhang played table-tennis was on March 5, 1992, at age of 4.
In 2011, Zhang first played his singles in WTTC and won the gold medal defeating Joo-Sae-hyuk, Wang Liquin, Timo Boll, Wang Hao making a epic celebration by ripping his t-shirt after winning the finals. After a few months, he won the 2011 Paris World Cup again defeating Joo sae Hyuk 4-1,Wang Hao 4-2 in the finals.After winning, he removed his t-shirt and threw it to the audience and thanked them for their support. Next year in the olympics, Zhang played a terrific match with European legend Samsonav Vladimir where he was 2-3 down. But he somehow managed to win the match. In the semi finals, he defeated Dimitrij Ovtcharov 4-1. Again in the finals he had to meet his fellow teammate Wang Hao. But this time Zhang proved he was very strong and dominated Wang Hao. Finally, Zhang achieved his career grand slam but unfortunately in the team event, he lost to Timo Boll but won the gold in teams also. Later, he won Ma Long 4-3 in final of Slovkia Open.
In 2013, he had a bad start after losing to Chen-chien-an in the Asian Games. Later in the WTTC, he once again proved he was undefeatable. He won the gold medal beating Fan Zhendong, Robert Gardos, Gustavo Tsuboi, Patrick Baum, Xu Xin and Wang Hao in the finals. This time, Zhang jumped off the baricade and ran towards his parents for his amazing victory. In the same year, he defeated Ma Long 4-1 in finals of Kuwait Open.
In 2014, he won the world cup beating Timo Boll in the semi finals and Ma Long in the finals by 4-3. He was appreciated for his amazing banana at decider 10-10 and took a service point to win the gold.
In 2015 WTTC, he lost to Fang Bo 1-4 but partnering with Xu Xin he won gold in the doubles event. In August, Stefen Fegeral of Austria upset him in mens singles semi finals. He lost to Ma Long 3-4 despite having a match point in the 6th game.
In 2016, Zhang Jike defeated Ma Long easily 4-1 in the finals match of the Kuwait Open. During the Rio Olympic, Zhang defeated Koki Niwa in the quarter finals and Samsonav Vladimir in the semi finals. Zhang was suffering a hip injury before the Rio Olympics. In the finals, he lost to his partner Ma Long.
In 2017, Asian Championships, Zhang defeated Oshima Yuva and Lin Gaoyuan before taking the bronze medal. In the wttc, Zhang lost to Lee Sangsu 1-4.He could not play his full potential as only the previous month he was under treatment for the hip injury. Next month in the China Open, he conceded his match with Yoshida Masaki as he was suffering from a major hip injury.There was no sign of Zhang Jike presence in the world tours. After 5 months, Zhang again resumed his world tour. He participated in the German Open losing to Apolonia 1-4.His world ranking dropped to 176 due to absence in world tour. After 6 months, he again intended to participate in the 2018 world tour. He first lost to Yoshimura Maharu, 3-4 in the Hong Kong Open as it was his first match after 6 months.. Later in China Open, he easily defeated Aruna Quadri but couldn't survive the speed of Harimoto. In the Japan Open, he was again back in form defeating Lin-yu-Jun,Jonathan Groth,Liang Jiangkun,Ueda Jin. But unfortunately, he again suffered a back injury while playing with Harimoto in the finals and lost 3-4 in a narrow manner.Again his ranking rapidly increased to 71 in one month. Two months later, in the Asia-Euro Championship, he defeated Steger Bastian and Jonathan Groth and proved he is still in form.
His playing style is still now admired by everyone in the world.
Equipment and playing style
Zhang Jike is a Butterfly sponsored athlete. He uses Butterfly Viscaria for his blade, a Butterfly Tenergy 80 (red) on his backhand, and DHS Hurricane 3 neo National blue sponge (black) on his forehand.
Zhang Jike is a two-winged shakehand attacker, using a combination of quick topspin drive attacks, counters, and loops. He is primarily a speed-oriented player, using the harder blue sponge H3 for maximum drive. He stays very low to the ground and is exceptionally quick on his feet. Among all the Chinese National team players, he is known for having the best backhand technique, often using it in the forehand corner, especially when returning heavy under-spin serves and pushes. His backhand on-the-table flick is widely regarded as one of the best in the world.
When Zhang Jike initially joined the national team, the coaches were apprehensive about his forehand technique and thought about changing it completely. But Xiao Zhan, the then personal coach of Zhang Jike, noticed the explosive technique of his forehand and backhand strokes and instead retained them. Zhang Jike's spin oriented technique provides him a unique topspin advantage against opponents.
Zhang's serves are unpredictable and quite deceptive. His most famous serve is probably the reverse-pendulum short serve into both corners of the table. The side-spin on the serve, together with his deadly backhand flicks, lightning footwork and top-class anticipation has proven to be a frightening combination as he "opens up" top spin rallies to his advantage.
It is noticeable that he would play with a backhand oriented game plan against big forehand loopers like Ma Long or Fan Zhendong. He would keep his opponents in their backhand corner and go for down-the-line blocking winners as the opposition steps around to use a forehand loop, or just simply use his superior control to pile up pressure on the opponent, resulting in bad shot selections and unforced errors.
One of Zhang Jike's most valuable asset is his mental toughness. His ability to win big points in major competitions under pressure, has amazed audiences.
In 2014, Zhang's world ranking dropped to 5th as a result of consecutive early world tour exits and title drought. Head coach Liu Guoliang criticized him for his lack of focus and techniques development. However, Zhang managed to lead his hometown team, Shandong, to the 2014 Chinese Table Tennis Super League championship, and he won the World Cup again in October. His prize money, $45,000 USD, for winning the World Cup was taken as a fine as himself proposed for destroying the barriers in celebration. This fund will be used to set up Fair Play Award.
- Singles (as of May 1, 2015)
- Olympic Games: Winner (2012); Runner-up (2016).
- World Championships: Winner (2011, 13).
- World Cup: Winner (2011, 14); Runner-up (2010).
- Pro Tour Winner (6): China Open, Suzhou (2010); German Open (2011); Korean Open (2012), Slovenian Open (2012), Kuwait Open (2013).Kuwait open(2016) Runner-up (3): Qatar Open (2010); China Open, Suzhou (2011); Austrian Open (2011); Japan Open(2018)
- Pro Tour Grand Finals: Runner-up (2011); SF (2009).
- Asian Championships: Runner-up (2009, 12).
- Asian Cup: Winner (2010).
- World Championships: Winner (2015).
- Pro Tour winner (6): Kuwait Open 2010; Slovenian, English, UAE, German, China (Suzhou) Open 2011.
Runner-up (7): Kuwait, Qatar Open 2008; China (Suzhou) Open 2009; German Open 2010; Qatar, China (Shenzen), Austrian Open 2011.
- Pro Tour Grand Finals: Winner (2011).
- Asian Games: Winner (2010, 14).
- Mixed Doubles
- World Championships: Runner-up (2009).
- Asian Games: QF (2010).
- Asian Championships: Runner-up (2009).
- "ITTF player's profile". International Table Tennis Federation. Retrieved 2010-08-07.
- "ITTF world ranking". International Table Tennis Federation. Archived from the original on 2012-10-02. Retrieved 2010-08-07.
- "Athlete's Profile". 2014 Incheon Asian Games Organizing Committee. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
- "ITTF Statistics". International Table Tennis Federation. Retrieved 2011-11-13.
- "China's Zhang wins men's table tennis gold". The Times Of India. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
- 国足兵败竟改张继科一生！父亲怒令别踢球换乒乓. Sina (in Chinese). 3 August 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- 张继科童年：昔日小不点如今大满贯 Retrieved 2016-09-06
- Tan, Patrick (29 October 2014). "Zhang Jike Offered His Prize Money As His Penalty?".
- Tan, Patrick (5 November 2014). "Zhang Jike's Penalty Used To Establish Fair Play Award".
- Zhang Jike on Sina Weibo (in Chinese) (registration required)
- Zhang Jike at the International Table Tennis Federation
- Jike Zhang at the International Olympic Committee
- Zhang Jike at Olympics at Sports-Reference.com
- Zhang Jike at Table Tennis Guide