USA Table Tennis What's New Jack Wang Interview

Jack Wang Interview

By Rahul Acharya | Oct. 12, 2015, 12 a.m. (ET)

Jack Wang (NJ, USA)

14 year old Jack Wang of Livingston, NJ recently won the Cadet Boys' Singles Gold Medal at the 2015 ITTF North American Championships held at Westchester Table Tennis Center, Pleasantville, NY. I had the opportunity to ask him a few questions. I hope you enjoy getting to know him. Enjoy!

Quick facts about Jack Wang:
Highest USATT rating 2571
Highest world ranking #5 (Boys Under 15)
2015 U.S. National Junior & Team Member
2014 U.S. Nationals - Junior Boys Gold Medalist
Sponsored by Butterfly

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1. Congratulations on winning the Cadet Boys' Singles title at the 2015 ITTF North American Championship. How does it feel? How did you prepare for this event? 

It feels wonderful to win the 2015 North American Championships Cadet event. I was a defending champion this year since I won the Junior event last year so I am a bit surprised to win again. While it feels great, there are many pressures now. I am no longer an underdog for my age. In fact, I am one of the top players so everyone will be looking and studying my style and finding ways to beat me. 

To prepare, I went to China to train over the summer. I greatly benefited from this experience because there are many great players in China and many more opportunities to practice. The skill level of Chinese players is also one of the best in the world and they have some of the best coaches too. Additionally, before the tournament and before every match, I thought about the mistakes I have made in the past so I don't repeat them.

2. When and how did you start playing table tennis? 
I started playing with my dad at the age of 8. We had a table at our basement. He wanted me to give it a try so he introduced me to the sport. What I love about table tennis is the pressure and adrenaline. I love the feeling when you're about to win a match or a whole tournament. Just one second after winning, all the adrenaline goes back and it just feels awesome. 

3. What equipment do you use?
Blade: Timo Boll ZLC
Forehand rubber: Tenergy 05 (red)
Backhand rubber: Tenergy 05 (black)

4. How often do you play and train? 
I usually train 5-6 days a week. I practice for 2 hours a day and on Sunday's, I play local club tournaments. I also workout at a gym right next to my club.

5. What are your goals with regards to table tennis, both immediate and long-term?
My immediate goal is to do well in the upcoming 2015 World Cadet Challenge and World Junior Championships. My long-term goal is to make the 2016 or 2020 Olympic Games and the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.

6. Tell us about your most memorable match. 
My most memorable match is my recent match against Jim Butler at the 2015 North American Championships. I was down 1-3 against a player who has extensive experience and someone who does not make simple mistakes during a match. Throughout the last few games, I felt that I played much more maturely than I have ever before in my career. In fact, in the seventh game I was down 5-8. So to come back and win was great! 

7. Who has been the biggest positive influence on your game?
I think that both my dad and my mom have had the biggest impact and positive influence on my game. They spend a lot of time everyday helping me become better.

8. Who is your favorite international table tennis player? Why?
My favorite player in the world is Zhang Jike. First of all, I really admire how he went from a really horrible person who got kicked out of the Chinese national team to one of the best table tennis players in history. I also really admire his attitude towards every single point in a match, especially when he wins the important ones. I love watching him do a new fancy emotion or act every single time. I also really like his style of play.

9. Couple of rapid-fire questions:
Talent or hard work?  Both. But, I would say that hard work is more important than talent. 
Without hard work, talent cannot produce any outcome. But, without talent, no matter how hard you work, it would be useless. 

Best chance to win - player with skills or player with confidence? Player with confidence. Confident players can stay calm and think outside of the box. 

21 point games or 11 point games? 11 point games. 11 point games create more exciting matches. Players have less time to get used to each other's styles, so it forces them to be spontaneously creative.

Poly ball or celluloid ball? Poly balls because they have a better bounce and they are slower, giving the player a little more time to react. 

More drills or more practice matches? Drills because they help create a solid foundation. 

More practice matches or more tournaments? Tournaments because they train players to play well even under pressure.

To cho, or not to cho? Cho. I prefer to cho because it helps me get rid of nervousness and therefore, play better. 

10. What other interests do you have besides table tennis?
I used to be a very good piano player until last year when I got busy with table tennis and school. I also like to sing, draw, and play video games. Other sports that I enjoy playing include basketball and soccer.

11. If you didn't play table tennis, what other sport might you be playing?
If I didn't play table tennis, I think that I would be a professional swimmer right now. When I about 5 - 6 years old, I won the NJ State Championships for Under 10. I was competing with boys that were much older than me, but I had the best backstroke in the state at that time. Then, I found out about table tennis and I seemed to enjoy it much more so I quit swimming.

12. Would you like to share any surprising fact that many people who know you don't know about you?
This is a funny answer. Many people think that I don't go to school, but it is not the case. I do go to school full-time.

13. Anything else that you would like to add?
I would like to thank all the people who helped me grow in table tennis. I really appreciate their time and effort!

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Jack, thanks for your time. Good luck with the upcoming World Cadet Challenge and World Junior Championships!

Jack Wang - 2015 ITTF North American Cadet Champion
With Jack Wang at the 2015 ITTF North American Championships

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Jack Wang

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