Mark Smythe Table Tennis

Australia's no. 1 coach

Heming update from World C'ships, Aust. Open & Mounties

It's been a busy time for Heming since providing his last update after winning the Australian Top 10 t'ment. Below is his latest update from last couple months.


Hi everyone

Lately, I have been extremely busy travelling the world playing many tournaments, as well as grinding out my University exams.

From the last update I had just won the Australian Top 10 and was feeling in great shape and confidence going into the World Championships. However, things didn't go as planned at the Worlds Individual Championships in late May. The 2 weeks leading upto the worlds was not a good preparation for me, all my University assignments were due in at that time period and it was just a bad time for me to get any practice in. I was up against World Rank 240 Gustavo Gomez from Chile. I jumped into the match feeling fairly confident, as we have played each twice in the past and we are one all. The match fairly tight throughout, however, I didn't play well enough in the close points and was beaten by a better opponent on the day 4-1. I missed many simple shots at the close moments when the pressure rose. The chance of this happening is less when you are practicing more. However, I did notice the improvement Gustavo had made in the last year. He plays regularly in Europe and full-time. It is difficult to compete with these guys when they are already at least your level and are playing full-time and you are not. In saying this, full credit to him who outplayed me and ended up making the main draw in this event.

Moving on, I had started to prepare for the Australian Open Pro tour. I was fortunate to have my good friend from England, Andrew Baggaley come down a week prior to the Australian Open. Andrew and I have been warm up/training partners for many of the European pro tour tournaments. I felt fantastic playing with him for a week and jumped into the Australian Open feeling good. Things again didn't go as hoped. I lost to Teng Teng Liu from New Zealand 4-2. I was up 9-7 in two of the sets and was a bit unlucky in the close points. It was a very tough loss for me as it was neck and neck the whole match but didn't go my way. I then lost to German number 4 or 5, Benedikt Duda, 4-0 but close in two of the sets and I played quite well. I made the quarter-final of the Men's Doubles with Chris Yan, losing to number 1 seeds from Korea who ended up winning the tournament. I felt like I needed some time away from the table tennis scene, as I had felt a huge loss of confidence from the constant losses in the last month. Once I took a step away from the Table Tennis for few days, I was able to refresh my mind and see the situation for how it really is: I lost to very good players, it was an extremely strong event with many of the worlds top players and I still played well in my game.

I took the positives out of this and went home to prepare for the next upcoming challenges.

I played the Mounties Invitational last week, July 15 & 16 where $30k prize money was on offer over the whole tournament. I came in not knowing what to expect and just wanting to play my best table tennis. I ended up doing just that, having a fantastic weekend. I lost in the Final of the Men's singles to Kong Lingxuan, a top Chinese National Men's Teir 1 level player who has beaten the likes of Fan Zhendong. However, this was a fantastic result for me making the final. I had beaten Erny Tsao 4-1, Chris Yan 4-1(Quarter Final) and in the Semi-final I beat a chinese player 4-3. This chinese had beaten Andrew Baggaley (World Rank 143) in the Quarter Final. Sport is a very interesting thing, it can make you feel very down at times and other times it can make you feel on top of the world. The key thing is to maintain a steady head and move forward no matter what. 

Tomorrow I play Victorian Open and tournament I have not won as a Senior. After this, it's one month until the Australian Closed Championship and continuing to combine Uni studies.