Who were your inspirations growing up?
I had many inspirations when I was younger and they included Wang Liqin, Ryu Seung – Min, Chen Jing and the great former World Champion Austrian player, Werner Schlager. Regarding the more current players, Ma Long and Timo Boll would inspire me the most. My greatest idol however would have to be the great Tennis player Rafa Nadal, he has such great values, charisma and fighting spirit than any top athlete would love to have, he also comes across as a lovely genuine person!
Your nickname is ‘Hu Dog’, which usually means someone with a never say die attitude, do you think attitude is a factor in winning?
Once again, I feel I have to relate back to just what an inspiration Rafa Nadal was to me when I was younger. I was very lucky that we had the Australian Open coming up in January every year and I couldn’t wait to watch and support him. I hope that I have instilled some of his never say attitude into my game and life and maybe this is why my nickname is ‘Hu Dog’, who knows?
What do you feel are your strengths as a Table Tennis player?
I feel that my strengths are return of serve, F/H topspin and footwork. Although I feel my B/H is strong I like to run around and hunt for my F/H and this is when I’m playing my best. I feel that I have a very solid all-round game and enjoy getting into the open rallies.
Which Coaching style brings out the best in you?
Regarding when competing, I need someone who can keep me calm and level headed, especially after the good and bad moments during the game. I like to have a Coach who is always positive and energetic and inspires me to keep fighting for every point like there is no tomorrow!
You are a big Tennis fan and love Rafa Nadal, what attributes do you like about him?
As I touched on earlier, I just love his fighting spirit and the fact that he comes across as a great person as well.
What are your favourite 2 Table drills?
I love to do many different drills as I feel this helps to have a good all-round game, however if I had to choose two then the first would be when I have two players blocking for me on the other side so I am not restricted to spinning to one side, I also like to finish the rally by going big down the middle. Secondly, I like the 3 x F/H exercise from B/H, middle, wide and repeat.
Image from Hemings Instagram
If you could choose one player to watch, who would it be and why?
I like to watch many different players for many different reasons and I don’t feel I can limit this to one player so I am going to name 3, Ma Long, Fan Zhendong and Timo Boll.
How do you get the best out of each training session?
For me, I like each training session to be very specific, for example I may focus on short touch, or F/H flip, or serve and third ball, this gives me a purpose and makes the training very similar to a match which in my opinion is what it’s all about.
Finally, in these crazy times, what exercises are you able to do to stay in shape?
If you are lucky enough to have a Table then it’s obviously a great time to work on serve and also to try and maybe think about some different parts of your game that can be improved on. It doesn’t look like there will be any competitions for a while so I suggest players use their imagination and try to think of new ways to improve with what tools they have.