The draw for the Olympic Men Singles was out yesterday and the Chinese delegates Zhang Jike and Wang Hao got the top two seeds with the reigning world champion in the upper half and the two time Olympic silver medalist in the opposite side.
Currently ranked on top of the world, Zhang Jike acts as the top seed of the Men Singles. In addition to that, Zhang Jike is also the reigning world champion. With these, he is considered to have the momentum. However, since he is an Olympic first timer as well, Zhang Jike is also feared to be swallowed by the pressure. In fact, lifting of the "Olympic Curse" is also a goal for Zhang Jike.
Liu Guoliang pointed out that Zhang Jike indeed possesses a unique and very good personality. "When he encounters unexpected situations and difficulties, he can stimulate greater potential to be ruthless in the arena. You can see him expressionless but he can also look like some beast who wants to get away. He can be wild like Cristiano Ronaldo." Liu Guoliang said.
For Liu Guoliang, if Zhang Jike will just play out from his true level, then there could be no inherent concerns. He just needs to get rid of negative thoughts and focus on the end goal.
Meanwhile, in the other half of the draw sits Wang Hao. Same as Zhang Jike, Wang Hao is also running for the Grand Slam award. However, this is not Wang Hao's first Olympic journey. He already participated in two seasons and both gave him the silver medal. Although the momentum is not on his side especially because it's Zhang Jike the one with the best recent results, Wang Hao can use the lesser attention given to him to attack.
Unlike the domineering characteristic of Zhang Jike, Wang Hao is the opposite. That is for Liu Guoliang. "Wang Hao is like the sun, simple and refined. He does not use force so much. Zhang Jike and Ma Lin use force which can easily inflict pressure on their opponents. However, it is also a double-edged sword as it can easily break them as well. Wang Hao is stable. He reached the finals in the previous two Olympics. He is unbeaten in five world team championships and one Olympic Team event." Liu Guoliang explained.
For the head coach, Wang Hao just needs to do his job to reach the finals and once there, he should get rid of his shadows from the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. This could make the difference.
Months before the Olympics, Liu Guoliang said that he will already be pleased if either one between Zhang Jike and Wang Hao will reach the finals. However, as the Olympics is coming nearer, Liu Guoliang expressed that he hopes for both of them to stand alive until the end of the line. Now that we are one day away from the Olympics, could Liu Guoliang have a stronger feeling that Zhang Jike and Wang Hao will be in the finals?
Zhang Jike & Wang Hao for the 2012 Olympics
Photo source: sports.sina.com.cn