Peter Li – 2011 US National Champion!
Last month, Peter Li from Laurel, MD won the 2011 National Championships. Read what the 18 year-old had to say about it!
Question: How did you feel going into the Nationals?
Answer: Going into Nationals, I will admit I was nervous. My performance in the few tournaments I played in after returning from my training in China was not as great as I hoped to play. I knew that how well I played at Nationals would be influential to my mentality going into the US Olympic trials, so I wanted to do my best.
Question: What did you focus your training on this past year? Do you think it made the difference?
Answer: This past year I focused my training on my third-ball attack, short game, and service return. After competing in several international tournaments the past few years, I knew that improving those parts of my game was essential to reaching the next level. Right after graduating high school last June, I returned to China to train with the Fujian Provincial Team. With the organized training system that was available here it was easier for me to focus my training. The combination of the multi-ball practice, serve/attack drills, service return drills, and practice matches that I was exposed to here allowed me to feel more confident with those parts of my game.
Question: How does it feel to go from runner up at the US Nationals to champion of the US Nationals?
Answer: Going from number 2 to number 1 always feels good regardless of what it is. Being able to hold the championship cup that day gave me a feeling of accomplishment. It’s always nice to know that I came back playing better than I did the year before. However, in the end it’s just another title I put in my pocket. The feeling only lasts a short while. Once all the congratulations pass by and the news finishes spreading, the event just becomes another good memory. I am not changed by it and will continue to work towards improving my game. As nice as it is to reflect on my accomplishments, everything will eventually become the past.
Question: Is there any person/people that played a significant role in your success this year?
Answer: Since I spent 4 months of my training with the Fujian Provincial Team, I owe a lot of my success this year to Coach Guo Yue Hua (Head Coach), Coach Huang Ruo Dong (Men’s Team Coach), and Coach Wang Hong (Assistant Men’s Team Coach). Without their help and guidance during my training in Fujian, this would not have been possible. Also, my dad has continued to support me this year as he has done for the past twelve years that I have been involved in the sport. As my primary coach, he has been the one watching over my progress over the years so I owe a lot of my success to him.
Question: What would you say to the younger players that aspire to be US Champion as well?
Answer: Keep working hard and always set plans and goals. It is much easier to improve if you consistently have checkpoints to keep you on track. Planning what you want to work on makes each tournament more beneficial as you can try out what you have worked on to see your progress. Setting goals is a great way to make sure that you don’t fall behind your competition. Goals can be anything from breaking a certain rating to making the national team. Also, don’t be too discouraged if you have a bad tournament or fail to accomplish one of your goals. Improving is like a never-ending roller coaster. You are going to have high points, low points, and points where you feel like you are going nowhere. No one can have a great tournament every time. Losing is part of the game, and should not be a reason to give up. If anything, it should be motivation for you to work harder and figure out your problems.
Question: What are your plans for 2012?
Answer: I plan on going back to Fujian to train before the US Olympic trials. After that, it all depends on how well I do at the trials. In an ideal situation, if everything went perfectly for me, I would probably go back to Fujian again. But honestly, no one can say what will happen at the trials, so I am sort of planning it as it goes until I go to Berkeley next fall.
Peter Li is a proudly JOOLA sponsored player. Learn more about him by visiting his profile.
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