Xu Xin, born in 1990, a native of Xuzhou, Jiangsu, and is one of the most popular Chinese players in the world. His playstyle is left-handed penhold with inverted rubber and he always loops on both sides with a fast-paced style.
Xu Xin possesses great talent in table tennis and has flexible footwork. He always loops the ball continuously with the forehand consistently. Xu Xin started to shine in the 2008 season, but at that time he played more as a doubles player. In 2009, he began to emerge in world-class competitions and has won many men’s doubles championships, team championships, and men’s singles championships.
Many people are interested in the love story of Xu Xin and are wondering who is his wife. In fact, Xu Xin got married in Shanghai on November 30, 2016, and his wife is former Chinese table tennis national player Yao Yan.
Maybe many people don’t know this female player or even have never heard about her. That is because Yao Yan sacrificed her career in order to stay with Xu Xin. So let’s have a look at their love story.
How did Xu Xin and Yao Yan meet for the first time?
Xu Xin’s incredible talent in table tennis was showcased at a young age. In 2005, he finished second in the men’s singles event at the U17 National Table Tennis Challenge, proving to be a formidable opponent for many of his peers. After his impressive run, Xu Xin earned himself a spot on the second national squad.
Just at that time, Yao Yan also entered the second national squad and they knew each other for the first time. Xu Xin and Yao Yan knew each other for nearly their entire careers- after all, growing up together surely deepens friendships.
Their trust in one another was such that when they were promoted to China’s first national table tennis team in 2006, the decision felt almost like a preordained one. Later they also become the teammates in Shanghai team.
Who is Yao Yan? The prettiest female Chinese table tennis player
At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Xu Xin, Zhang Jike, and Ma Long won the men’s team finals. Xu Xin, who got off the podium, walked towards the auditorium when a girl stood up to meet him.
He stepped forward and hung the gold medal around the girl’s neck, hugged her tightly, and kissed her cheek. This girl is Yao Yan, Xu Xin’s girlfriend who has been in love with Xu Xin for seven years and was also the first student of Chinese former coach, Kong Linghui.
On August 2, 1988, Yao Yan was born in Meishan City, Sichuan Province. Yao Yan started playing table tennis at the age of 5. After graduating from kindergarten, Yao Yan entered the primary school in Jing’an District, Shanghai.
Later, upon recommendation, she transferred to Shanghai Hongkou District Youth Sports School to learn table tennis. In 2001, Yao Yan joined the Shanghai Table Tennis Team.
When Yao Yan was selected for the national team, she was catching up with Kong Linghui as the coach of the women’s team, so she, who has a comprehensive playstyle, naturally became Kong Linghui’s student.
As a Shanghai-style beauty, Yao Yan is 1.75 meters tall and is a typical fair-skinned beauty with long legs. No wonder people call her the prettiest Chinese table tennis player.
Yao Yan’s native family can fully meet the standard of a “rich family”. His father is an executive of a foreign company, and his mother is an accomplished owner of a private company. Table tennis was Yao Yan’s hobby since she was a child, and of course, she got the full support of his parents.
So in the mid-1990s, she was able to spend several thousand dollars a month on private lessons, and her skills improved by leaps and bounds. After entering the national team, she won the nickname “Princess Yao” due to her elegance and beauty.
When did Xu Xin and Yao Yan stay together?
September 30, 2009, is a day that both of them will remember in their lives. At that time, several teammates who won the game went out to eat and celebrate.
After the meal, Xu Xin and Yao Yan, who gradually fell behind the crowd, chatted with each other behind.
After hesitating for a long time, Xu Xin finally made up his mind, and resolutely stretched out his hand to hold Yao Yan’s slender palm by his side.
At this moment his heart was pounding and he was super nervous, if Yao Yan shook off his hand, it would be so embarrassing. However, the scene he feared did not happen.
From then on, the two started a formal relationship, when Xu Xin was 19 years old and Yao Yan was 21 years old. In this way, the two spent three years of love time sweetly, but the paper could not contain the fire, and their love affair was finally known by the team leader.
According to the rule of the Chinese national team, two players can’t have a relationship. Once the relationship is discovered, they have several options. One is that they both can go abroad to continue their career, but they will say goodbye to playing the game standing for China. Another option is to retire.
The 24-year-old Yao Yan thought over and over again, and finally, she found Xu Xin and told him her decision. Between her career and Xu Xin, she chose Xu Xin. She believes that Xu Xin has the strength to become the best table tennis player in China and can become a world champion.
She decided to give up her entire career to ensure that Xu Xin can have a better future. Between love and career, she chose to love. It can be said that Yao Yan’s choice brought great risks to herself. Not only does she have to let go of her possible further career, but she may not get her love in the end. Because at that time, many relationships between athletes ended up without a result.
The 24-year-old Yao Yan thought over and over again, and finally, she found Xu Xin and told him her decision.
Between her career and Xu Xin, she chose Xu Xin.
She believes that Xu Xin has the strength to become the best table tennis player in China and can become a world champion.
She decided to give up her entire career to ensure that Xu Xin could go into battle lightly.
Between love and career, she chose to love.
It can be said that Yao Yan’s choice brought great risks to herself.
Not only does she have to let go of her possible further career, but she may not get her love in the end.
And the love between athletes at that time ended without a problem abound
But Yao Yan didn’t feel any worry. She believes that Xu Xin is a responsible person, and she also believes that the love between the two is extremely steadfast.
When Xu Xin heard about Yao Yan’s decision, on the one hand, she felt sorry for her retirement, and on the other hand, she was moved by her trust.
Yao Yan, who retired at the age of 24, has a clear life plan. She entered Shanghai Sport University to study sports psychology with undergraduate and master’s degrees, and use this knowledge to psychologically build and support Xu Xin’s sports career.
Xu Xin’s Proposal
At Yang Zongwei’s concert in 2016 in Nanjing, Xu Xin attended as a special guest, and Yao Yan and her bestie Ding Ning also went to watch the concert together.
Xu Xin sang the song “Just Once” on the stage, and then said in front of tens of thousands of audience:
“I want to give the girl who has always supported me the most perfect marriage proposal”
When Xu Xin approached Yao Yan with a handful of red roses, she hugged Ding Ning so excitedly.
On November 30, 2016, the two got married in Shanghai. When the wedding photos of the two were posted on Weibo, they received blessings from countless fans.
Later, because they had to participate in the competition, the two didn’t have time to hold the wedding at all, so Xu Xin returned to the team to prepare for the competition.
Even in 2019, when their son was born in Shanghai, Xu Xin was not able to accompany his wife and children in person because he was participating in a competition outside.
Now Xu Xin is a father of one son and one daughter. As the two “father” players of the national table tennis team, Xu Xin and Ma Long, who are over 30 years old, are still sticking to their hopes and pursuits.
In the face of Xu Xin’s professional perseverance, Yao Yan also firmly expressed: I will always believe in Xu Xin, and I am willing to support Xu Xin because I know that he is a superhero.
This is the love story of Xu Xin and his wife Yao Yan. Are you touched by their love story?
Personally speaking, I think love like theirs is quite uncommon nowadays. Especially sports athletes, after being famous and rich, will face all kinds of temptations. We can often hear that a certain athlete has cheated again. It is indeed rare to see a man who is so responsible for love as Xu Xin.
Some other tips about Xu Xin
Why is Xu Xin called the cloudwalker
Loads of people ask why Xu Xin is called the cloudwalker. Many people think that he gets this nickname because of his amazing ball feeling, his court coverage, his great footwork, etc. But these are all NOT CORRECT!
In fact, the nickname “cloudwalker” was first given by Chinese table tennis coach Liu Guoliang when Xu Xin entered the national team for the first time.
Qin Zhijian’s evaluation of Xu Xin at that time is that he is a very smart and talented player, but he wasn’t training hard. When no one was staring at him, Xu Xin was always lazy whenever he could and was unwilling to move.
Head coach Liu Guoliang also felt the same way, so he gave the nickname “cloudwalker” to Xu Xin in order to criticize him and also hope that he could be more self-disciplined and train hard.
But now Xu Xin has gained more titles and got great success in his career. Nowadays, almost no one mentioned this old and “bad” nickname. Chinese people call Xu Xin as “People’s Artist” due to many of his amazing strokes during the games. Xu Xin is regarded as the best penhold player in the world now.
Why Xu Xin rarely loses to choppers
XuXin’s ability to attack the ball with his powerful forehand, combined with his skill for varying spin on his loop shots makes him a formidable attacker.
He rarely loses to choppers, and his prowess lies in his accuracy and strategic approach. What sets him apart is his usage of forehand strokes that can be used to varying levels of difficulty. His loops are known for their slow spinny nature that can lull the opponent into a false sense of security before he attacks wide angles, catching them off guard.
It’s more difficult for choppers to deal with slow topspins as the ball is super spinny. And once Xu Xin gets the opportunity, his loops have a great wide angle that also makes it the defenders difficult to cover the stage. That’s why Xu Xin almost never loses to choppers, no matter in China or in some international games.
What equipment does Xu Xin use?
- Blade: Stiga Rosewood NCT V (Penhold Version)
- Forehand: DHS Hurricane 3 National Version
- Backhand: Butterfly Tenergy 05
It should be noted that many people think Xu Xin uses the Stiga Dynasty Carbon blade but it’s not true. In fact, Xu Xin does have cooperation with Stiga Company and they launched Stiga Dynasty Carbon this blade in the name of Xu Xin. Many fans also call it the Stiga Xu Xin blade. However, Xu Xin hardly uses it during the games.
Most of the time, Xu Xin uses Stiga Rosewood NCT V. We have made a review about this blade in our previous blog. You could click the link to read the review for both Stiga Rosewood NCT V and Stiga Xu Xin Dynasty Carbon.