Probably one of the most anticipated results in the upcoming London Olympics is if the Grand Slam nominees Zhang Jike, Wang Hao and Ding Ning would be the next Kong Linghui, Liu Guoliang or Zhang Yining.
In the Men Singles, both Zhang Jike and Wang Hao are the strongest contenders for the Grand Slam. Between the two, Wang Hao's chances are not that big.
In the previous two Olympic seasons, Wang Hao has been suffering from "heart disease": He was always the runner up and never the champion.
Wang Hao vs Ryu Seung Min 2004 Olympics
video kindly shared by Manuelmaier2011
Wang Hao vs Ma Lin 2008 Beijing Olympics
video kindly shared by racquetsportsbeijing
Moreover, Wang Hao also failed quite a number of times against Zhang Jike in the past two years, be it in the world championships, world cup or the world tour series.
Probably the only thing that Wang Hao has that is missing in Zhang Jike is his Olympic experience. He can actually use that as an advantage and finally be hailed as the Olympic champion.
If Wang Hao and Zhang Jike will meet in the Olympic finals, Wang Hao could be considered as the "underdog" in terms of psychological strength. The biggest issue he will be facing by then will be his capacity to overcome his Olympic-final phobia.
As for the women division, Ding Ning is the leading name. Last year, Ding Ning has won the World Championships and the World Cup. This eventually leads her closer to the Grand Slam just like her former teammate and retired table tennis champion Zhang Yining.
According to the words of Shi Zhihao, Chinese Women's coach, Ding Ning has the capacity of being the next Zhang Yining.
Probably the strongest competitor in London will be her teammate Li Xiaoxia. In recent meetings, Ding Ning posted quite a number of victories against Li Xiaoxia. Concrete examples would be last year's world championships and world cup. Ding Ning took the title while Li Xiaoxia settled for the runner up in both occasions.
This eventually gives Ding Ning a psychological advantage. Analyzing the situations, Ding Ning has the biggest chance of clinching the gold medal in the Olympic Women Singles and be one of the few Grand Slam winners in the history of table tennis.
Photo source: 2008.sina.com.cn