After wrapping up three years playing at Turkish VakifBank and helping defend the world championship crown as the captain to China’s national team, China’s superstar spiker Zhu Ting returned home and joined the national Super League.
She is now starting a new journey in her career, strengthening the bond between teammates as well as tipping a toe in a new area off the court. In the days ahead, she is committed to preparing for the Super League and helping China win at the 2022 Tokyo Olympics.
New expectations for Zhu as the captain
On September 29, China’s national women volleyball team won the World Cup in Osaka, Japan. Reflecting upon that, Zhu Ting thought it was a fairly easy experience compared to the championship they won four years ago.
“Four years ago, we have teammates who struggled in injuries. This time, everyone is at their prime. So I had a rather easy competing experience,” said Zhu.
Different from four years ago, when Zhu was only a team member, this time she led the team to a championship as the captain. Not only has the tactics been formulated around her game, but she is also the team leader at a mental level.
“When faced with adversities, I should shoulder more; and this is exactly what I need to learn from Coach Lang Ping,” Zhu admitted.
During this year’s World Cup, a special scene was engraved in many fans’ memories. After a score Zhu Ting spiked, she “roared” at her teammate Gong Xiangyu. To speak to that, Zhu explained, “Many fans blamed me for shouting at Gong, it was actually my way of expressing and influencing them. Under good or bad circumstances on the court, it is important to show your attitude through body language like that.”
The conversations Zhu had with her teammates were not limited to the game. In the World Cup award ceremony, Ding Xia was named as the Best Second Pass and she gave Zhu Ting a big hug after receiving the award. Zhu spoke about what she and Ding are like off court.
“In the previous games, it was basically always me adjusting the ball and making the offense. So I jokingly said to Ding, reminding her to try make good pass to me so I don’t have to make the adjustment.” Ding is now more composed while making the passes, delivering a more stable performance each game, to which Zhu is sincerely happy.
Broadening horizon overseas
Finishing her three-year overseas play with Turkish VakifBank, Zhu chose to join the Tianjin women’s volleyball club on her new journey in China’s national Super League. Addressing the reason that she chose Tianjin, Zhu said it had to do with the team’s champion genes.
“Tianjin has the champion genes. And I want to get a feel of the training methods here.”
Her teammates in Tianjin Bohai Bank club – Yao Di, Li Yingying, and Wang Yuanyuan – are also her mates in the national team. “I have the rapport training with them. Together, we coordinate well.”
Zhu’s overseas experiences helped her improve, especially in high-level games. According to her, competing in top-notch games is a good exercise for players. “They have many games to play in Turkey and many are important.”
“The Turkish Women’s Volleyball League, the Women’s CEV Champions League, as well as the Turkish Cup, important games like these will help the player improve their capability to adapt to different situations on the court and accumulate experience,” said Zhu.
In addition to perfecting her techniques, the overseas experience also helped Zhu broaden her horizons.
“When I first arrived to play in Turkey, I applied a curious observation to everything. With so many things I saw my eyes are now brighter than before. The overseas experience helped broaden my horizons; it matters a lot to me in the present and the future,” Zhu said.
If the situation allows it, Zhu will choose to play overseas in the future. However, at the moment, with the Tokyo Olympics in the foreseeable future, Zhu is committed to preparing for that.
The struggles of acting for the first time
Apart from training and competing, Zhu Ting also had her first experience in the film industry, participating with teammates in the “Chinese Female Volleyball” movie. However, the process had its struggles.
“I think acting is really hard. It is indeed true when they say one can only specialize in a specific area,” Zhu commented.
“The facial expressions are the hardest. The director wanted us to act nervous or anxious with a pounding heart all through facial expressions. They teach us how-to, but it is just as hard.”
Despite the difficulties Zhu found in acting, she is willing to give it another try if the opportunity presents itself. “I would love to take another try, especially with the story I am living with. I am happy to play as a guest actress someday,” she said, laughing it off.