Feng: No blip, I'm just reinventing myself

She was crowned Keppel-Singapore Table Tennis Association Player of the Year for the fourth time.

World No. 5 Feng Tianwei certainly deserved the award after winning a bronze medal at the Women's World Cup last year before combining with Yu Mengyu to pick up another bronze at the World Table Tennis Championships.

However, it has been more than a year since she made a final on the International Table Tennis Federation circuit. The last time she did it was at the Kuwait Open in February last year.

At the Qatar Open last week, Feng also suffered a shock loss to world No. 54 Ng Wing Nam from Hong Kong in the Round of 32, raising concerns over her recent form.

Speaking to The New Paper after receiving her award last night, the 27-year-old revealed that she has been trying to reinvent herself as a paddler in the past year, which contributed to a relative lack of success.

"I yearn for a new breakthrough," said Feng, who has had a glittering career and won silver and bronze Olympic medals, team gold in the 2010 World Championships and many other victories in major tournaments.

"So we are making adjustments to my technique and mentality.

"In the process, there will definitely be blips and I do feel down when I lose, but it is necessary to go through all these to make me a better player.

"After senior players like (Li) Jiawei and (Wang) Yuegu retired, I must be the leader now, and that is a big challenge that I must rise up to because I have to be a role model for the younger players.

"I'm confident that I will be a better player after making the adjustments and I'm looking forward to doing well and medal at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games this year."

BODES WELL

Her coach Jing Junhong, who was also lauded at last night's awards, felt that Feng is coping well with the tweaks they are making to her game, and this bodes well for her chances at the next Olympic Games in 2016.

"After each Olympics, we enter a new cycle, where we need to improve on our technique and mentality," she explained.

"At the last Olympics, Tianwei was the one who was trying to break new ground and she did. Now, there are other young players from other countries trying to do the same.

"They would have studied her style of play, and that is why we must make adjustments. We cannot stagnate.

"Yes, the defeat by Ng was a surprise, but Tianwei has done well consistently. Otherwise, she wouldn't be in the world's top five all this time."

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