We understand your father named you after Table Tennis and your brother is called Pong, can you tell us about how he has inspired and helped you in your TT journey so far?
My brother is called Ping! I was almost called Pong haha. My dad has been an amazing help. As I grew up in a table tennis setting there’s no doubt he’s the one who first pushed me and made me believe what I could achieve. He inspires me daily as he has a great work ethic and does everything to the best of his ability. I think this quality of his has encouraged me to do the same. He has been supporting me throughout my TT journey as he always watches my matches, even if they are streamed abroad. Also, when I have a period of low achievement he is positive and helps me keep going. When I was younger and competed in England he was often my coach in the corner and he has also helped greatly with the technical side of table tennis. He also simply loves the sport and has acquired lots of knowledge throughout his years of experience as a coach and player.
You have been in the women’s ranking list since you were 12 years old, and reached the top 100 in 2018. What improvements do you think enabled you to do this?
I think just lots of training and competing in different settings. Aside from physical and technical improvements, I was exposed to the senior circuit at a young age, and I competed in some big high pressure matches at the Commonwealth Games when I was 15. I think this has helped me learn about my mentality to be able to compete well under pressure.
You have a unique, individual style which is very exciting to watch, can you tell us more about your practice routines and how you developed such a varied game?
I think my game is varied because of my penhold style and that my dad used to play Japanese pen hold style so I guess that affected the way he coached me! My practice routine is quite standard to most players I believe, however lately I have been doing lots of challenges in the practice by adding in scoring and counting systems. This has helped with my focus and to mimic the competition emotions- which in turn forces me to have more variation to win points!
Can you give us your views on the new WTT structure and especially the new separate Women’s tour?
The new WTT structure seems like a great innovative idea to promote table tennis globally and make it become viewed as the sport it really is! The separate Women’s tour is positive in promoting women’s table tennis distinctly. I like the different event tiers to give various levels of play an opportunity to compete against one another.
You seem to be a very positive and happy person, do you ever feel pressure and if so, do you have any tools you use to deal with it?
Thank you! Yes I do feel lots of pressure, especially when I was younger as I put high expectations on myself to be the best and my mood would depend on my results. This is something I have learnt to manage over the years. If I feel external pressure (i.e. other people’s expectations of me), I remind myself that there is a reason why others have that expectation of me- it means I am good! So I use that as a way to believe in myself and I like the saying ‘pressure is a privilege’ which my old England coach Nicky Jarvis told me about! In terms of my own internal pressure, I just try my best to focus on what is important during the match, to stay in the moment and not worry about the results.
Image from Tin- Tin Hos Instagram
If you could choose one player to watch, who would it be and why?
I really like watching Mima Ito, I like her attitude on the table as she is very calm and it looks like she has lots of confidence in herself. I also love her style as she has unique techniques and she’s also very smart when she plays!
What are your 2 favourite drills/exercises?
I love footward exercises… so probably something like falkenberg but I usually do backhand middle backhand wide as my ‘go-to’ during competition warm ups. I also really like ‘free to backhand’ because you can change it to suit what you need to focus on by adding in particular serves and receives.
At still only 21 you are now a 4 time National Champion, what are your short and long term goals in the years ahead?
My short term goals are to improve my ranking (top 80 and then aim for top 50) and qualify for the Olympic Games. My longer term goals include improving my ranking even more and also to win a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.
The Top 32 players qualify for the new re vamped WTT Champions events, can you give us 2 areas of your game you need to improve in order to do this?
I need to improve my consistency of shots against high level players, which would generally involve all my techniques/ shots to be able to return my opponent’s varied shots. I also need to improve my mentality to remain calm but very focused to be able to play at my highest level more frequently.
Finally, can you give 2 tips to any young aspiring Table Tennis players?
Working hard and doing your best in everything you do creates opportunity. You will get out a lot more if you put the work in- coaches will be more willing to share their expertise and you will find that opportunities come your way to help you reach your goals! Also remember to enjoy it and really cherish the moments you get to compete, travel and be a team with others!