Paddler Fan Zhendong turns into a Swiftie, Latest Others News - The New Paper

Paddler Fan Zhendong turns into a Swiftie

Top-ranked table tennis player Fan Zhendong is used to being the centre of adulation back home in China, with some fans even going to extremes to get up close to him.

Usually stoic and cool, Chinese world champion Fan however, turned the tables on himself recently, when he morphed into an Enchanted fanboy at pop superstar Taylor Swift’s concert in Singapore on March 8.

There were already hints of this Love Story when the 27-year-old sang a line from the song while in a lift with fellow players Sun Yingsha, Adriana Diaz and Izaac Quek – they were on the way to the World Table Tennis Singapore Smash main draw ceremony at Jewel Changi Airport.

His bashful rendition in the 21-second clip attracted a whopping 4.8 million views on Weibo.

In another 63-second video, which garnered more than 30,000 views on X, he was seen in a car introducing his OOTD that included a “reputation” cap, friendship bracelets and a white t-shirt that read “A LOT GOING ON AT THE MOMENT”.

A masked Fan was also shown standing outside Gate 15 of the National Stadium, with Taiwanese world No. 8 Lin Yun-ju caught in the background, before the latter entered the arena for the Eras Tour.

For someone who rarely conducts interviews in English, an unmasked Fan impressively belted out the entire bridge of Cruel Summer while surrounded by fellow Swifties.

After soaking in the Swift experience at the stadium, it was back to business for Fan at the Singapore Smash, though the men’s singles defending champion saw his perfect 13-match winning streak come to an end as he lost to 18-year-old national teammate Lin Shidong in the round of 32 on March 12.

The Guangzhou native, who is also a fan of Hong Kong band Beyond, did not reply to The Straits Times’ question on how Swift inspires him But he said: “I’m still focused on the competition. I was trying to come up with solutions but could not execute them well at the table. I hope to do a proper review of how I played and perform better next time.”

Fan showed later that he could Shake It Off as he teamed up with Wang Chuqin as reigning men’s doubles champions to beat Singaporeans Koen Pang and Izaac Quek on March 14 to move on to the semi-finals.

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