| Wang Nan with the singles trophy in Paris Saturday. (AP)
Beijing: China’s ping-pong queen Wang Nan, who just won the women’s singles title in the world meet in Paris, has declined to be compared with retired table tennis legend Deng Yaping, state media reported Sunday.
Wang, 25, who beat compatriot Zhang Yining Saturday in a thrilling encounter for her third straight world title, said she won’t like to be compared with her illustrious senior.
Deng had nine world titles and four Olympic gold medals under her name. “We played in different times,” Wang said. “She (Deng) is a player for whom I have great respect and have learned a lot from,” Wang was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.
Both had been teammates but Wang was under the shadow of Deng as long as the former table tennis great was active in the sport.
Wang reached the final of the 1997 world championships in Manchester, only to finish runner-up to Deng.
Wang did not win her first world title until the 1999 world championships in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, when Deng had virtually retired from the sport and gone back to academics.
Wang’s coach Qiao Hong, who paired with Deng to win both world and Olympic doubles titles, said that there is no point in comparing the two leading players at different times. “I don’t favour such comparison, there is no point in doing that,” she said. “Their playing careers belong to different times, they also have different career targets and personalities,” she said.
The most striking difference between them lies in the personality, as Deng was more extrovert and played more aggressively.
But Wang seems to have wished to reach the same height as Deng in terms of sporting accomplishments. “I wish I could win gold medals at the 2004 Athens Olympics, so that I will have the same number of Olympic titles as Deng ,” Wang said.