Why Feng almost quit table tennis
World No. 8 Feng almost quit when she was younger
Feng Tianwei, known for her fighting spirit, almost called time on her table tennis career in her teens.
"When I was younger, I had some heart problems," the 29-year-old said in an interview for the International Table Tennis Federation's Off the Table YouTube series.
"There was once I caught a cold and did not rest well. I kept training and developed myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle).
"When I was 16 or 17, I suffered a more serious attack and, at that time, I thought, 'Maybe I should forget it and not continue playing'.
"But I gradually recovered and I haven't had an attack since then."
That, along with her father's death during the same period, made the young Feng decide to focus on the sport.
She said: "Before that, table tennis was neither work nor a part of my life. It was something my mother wanted me to do.
"My father's death brought my clarity on that issue."
Even then and, despite spending most of her waking hours at the table, she started to realise the sport's impact on her only in recent years.
Still, she continues to seek a deeper connection between herself and the bat. The women's singles world No. 8 said: "I am in a love-hate relationship with table tennis - when I am playing well, I feel good and I have showcased my abilities in competition.
"But, if I am not in my best form and keep losing, I would ask myself if I should keep on doing this.
"No matter what, I have been searching for the meaning of table tennis in my life."
In the interview, she acknowledged not being the "most remarkable" player in terms of playing style, but believes she is a well-rounded paddler in terms of technique and mental strength.
While she has not made concrete post-retirement plans, she thinks she may hit the books.
"I like the idea of being a doctor, but I know it's harder than playing table tennis... I never thought of what I could do if I weren't a player, but I might study after retiring," she said.
Smiling, she added: "I lip-synced to a mainland Chinese talk show recently and somehow it got onto ITTF's Facebook page.
"Since then, when I go to competitions people tell me that I could be an actress, or host a talk show after I retire."