But it strikes me that for a few years after Ding burst onto the scene, there was a lot of commentator talk about how in a few years time, there'd be at least as many Chinese players in the top-16 as non-Chinese. Never quite seemed to have worked out that way.
Obviously getting into the top-16, and consistently winning ranking events, is easier said than done. There's a lot of higher quality players out there, and being a long-term top-16er / tournament winner requires more than just being a good player.
Are there any fellow players that people want to predict will follow Ding's success? Ling Wenbo looked a dead cert to do it a few years back, but has dropped out of the top-16 and been inconsistent since then. I predicted instant success for Lu Ning after he humiliated Shaun Murphy in China. I can't even recall having watched him since.
Is it just because snooker is seemingly becoming a bit of an old man's game these days, with people in their 30s and 40s winning tournaments? The talent is clearly there. So who do people think will become China's next big thing after Ding? Will any of them?
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