"I have faced many challenges on my journey, including many things that I can't grasp," Liu told CGTN.
Liu felt lost and struggled to regain her footing over the last two years, as almost everything she had been familiar with in the decades-old sport – the ball, rubber, points system and the table – had changed.
"Rules change. My playing techniques change. I gradually felt distressed. I was very close to giving up," Liu said.
The turning point for Liu was when former Olympic champion Ma Lin took charge of her training at the end of 2018. Inspired and encouraged by Ma, Liu unlocked her potential and staged a stunning comeback this year.
Having qualified for the mixed double for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, Liu has set sights on the ultimate prize of winning an Olympic gold medal, just like her coach Ma in Athens in 2004. With only eight months to go, a Golden Grand Slam, the greatest achievement in table tennis, seems within Liu's reach.
"I think I was very lucky. I got the opportunity that I was waiting for, and it was a reward for my insistence, hard work and effort," Liu said.