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Interview with Vladimir Samsonov

Taken from Matt Hetherington’s Blog

Full Name: Vladimir Samsonov

Age: 35

Date Of Birth: 17.04.1976

Nation represented: Belarus

Highest World Ranking: 1

Equipment Used?

Blade: Tibhar Samsonov Force Pro

FH Rubber: Tibhar Genius

BH Rubber: Tibhar Grips Europe

Your Career

How long have you been playing table tennis for, when and how did you start?

Almost 30 years , started when I was 6 , first time played with my father

Who has been the biggest influence on your career so far?

I worked with 4 amazing coaches for a long period of time , and also of course my family

What has been the highlight of your table tennis career so far?

I have been world number 1, won 3 times the World Cup, 3 times European Championships in singles , silver medal at the World Championships in singles

What’s does your training schedule for a week period involve?

Mostly I practise twice a day , total of 4-6 hours a day

What is your next big goal for table tennis?

Olympic medal is still a big dream for me

Who has been your biggest rival out on the table since you started playing?

Used to be few generations of Chinese players , JO Waldner , Timo Boll , now many others also, upcoming players

What do you think is the most important thing in table tennis for becoming a successful player on the international stage?

I do not think you can single out one individual thing, there are too many factors like talent ,good training conditions , will to train hard, etc. all of these are important in making a successful player

What was it like winning 3 World Cups? Is this a feat you hope to achieve again in the near future?

It was great , especially the last one (beating Ma Long and Chen Qi). Of course I hope I can win again, only it is not that easy. Vladimir has won the World Cup 3 times, the record held by Ma Lin (China) is 4 victories of the World Cup. Best of luck to Vladi in contesting the 2011 World Cup and his chance to make more history.


You have consistenly remained in the World’s Top 10 Mens players for some time now, how do you keep on top of the new upcoming players, do you feel experience is a large factor?

I still practise a lot and there are not many new players . Of course experience is very important , still it will not help you if your opponent is much better than you

Why do you think China currently dominate the sport and what does Europe need to do to bring players to that level?

Chinese work harder , are more professional , more organized, also they have many more players . Most of top Europeans live far away from each other , we should practise more together like the Chinese do, this seems to work for them and is something we lack

Is there a tournament title that has evaded you so far that you have been working very hard to win?

Olympic Games

What has been your proudest moment out on the table?

Each victory is special

What one thing do you consider to be most important in becoming a great table tennis player?

I do not think you can single out one thing , too many factors like talent ,good training conditions , will to train hard, etc. are important . (same answer like to the – What do you think is the most important thing in table tennis for becoming a successful player on the international stage?- question )

Off the Topic Questions

Who’s your favourite sportsperson of all time?

Michael Jordan

Favourite food?

Pancakes

What do you do when you aren’t playing table tennis?

Enjoying time with my family

Dream Car?

Not interested

Ideal holiday destination?

Formentera, Spain

First thing you would do if you won $1million?

Celebrate with my family and friends

Your Team Mates

Dimitri Ovtcharov , Alexei Smirnov , Fedor Kuzmin

Who’s the funniest player in the training hall?

Petr Korbel


Who trains the hardest in the training hall?

Robert Gardos


And Lastly

Would you like to add one last tip, or an inspirational message for other table tennis players looking to succeed?

I know it sounds silly – train hard and believe in yourself .

Interview with Zhang Jike

Have a look to this interview got by tabletennista.com with Zhang Jike. He talks about his personal life, women and many more:

Q: Aside from table tennis, we all know that Zhang Jike is also a fan of football. What could be the position he would want?

A: I cannot be the forward. I can be a good goalkeeper. Otherwise, I will be a midfielder, Zico’s position.

Q: What perfume do you use?

A: I just changed. I cannot say it, its a secret (smiles). Okay, I will reveal it, its called Naked Men.

Q: Why do you always have colds?

A: Too tired. After a big competition, there is no time for rest. Now, there is the Super League and we are always on the run.

Q: What kind of woman do you like?

A: Her hair shouldn’t be long nor short. Not too thin. About 168 (cm). Sensible. Virtuous. No need to be too beautiful.

Q: What is your message to your fans?

A: Thank you for all your support. And during autograph signing, please don’t get too crazy. It would be better (smiles).

Q: Why do you always wear Crocs?

A: Its convenient. Just slip them on and your good to go.

Q: What is your biggest goal as of now?

A: The second Grand Slam of course.

Q: What is the most exaggerated thing that happened in your life?

A: It would be now. I never thought that a lot of people will ask me questions. Very exaggerated.

Q: Aside from table tennis, what else do you like to do?

A: Driving.

Q: Last year, you raised a chameleon. How was it?

A: I let my friend take care of it.

Q: Who do you want to pair with in the transnational pairing for the Mixed Doubles?

A: Tie Yana.

Q: What are you most afraid as of now?

A: Injuries.

Q: Will you name your son Zhang C Luo?

A: No (laughters).

Richard Prause: Bundesliga will be very interesting

You have a lot of experience as a player and coach in the Bundesliga. Are you still interested in the Bundesliga?

AP: “I have a lot of personal and professional interest in following the Bundesliga. Our interest in the Academy is in the best international leagues. And besides the Russian and French Leagues, the Bundesliga is one of the leagues, we follow, of course. Surely, the Bundesliga is one of the strongest in the World.”

In the Academy, there are also players who play in the Bundesliga…

AP: “The Portuguese player Joao Monteiro, for example, who played last season for Saarbrücken, is part of our training group. And Adrian Crisan of Werder Bremen also train regulary with us.”

Which are the strongest clubs in the new season?

AP: “Borussia Düsseldorf. They have a professional environment, a very strong team and a good medicine team. But we must wait how Christian Süss’s injury goes I think that the next strong team is Ochsenhausen. They have a real number one with Ryu Seungmin. With Simon Gauzy, they also have a interesting player of the new European generation. And Werder Bremen can start this season with confidence. They follow the motto “never change a winning team” and are the hot favorite for the title this season. We also have to count on Plüderhausen. I’m curious to see how the clubs works with a combination of experience and youth.”

You said that Simon Gauzy will be an interesting player in the Bundesliga. Who else could give a good surprise in this season?

AP: “I consider Simon Gauzy a talented player. He already caused sensation after reaching the third round in Paris. We will hear more about him. Then there are also top players such as Timo Boll, Chuang Chih-Yuan or Adrian Crisan, who will show their superiority again. Besides, I’m curious to see how Kim Jung Hoon of Plüderhausen will play. He said that he isn’t part of the main team of South Korea anymore, so he will be able to focus on the League.”

Will you see some live Bundesliga match?

AP: “Yes, sure. But I travel a lot, so the Internet broadcasting is very useful for me, because I can watch matches online. I have talked to Bundesliga’s manager Nico Stehle and maybe I would be able to comment in a match.”

The interview has been taken from tabletennista.com

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Ovtcharov: Playing in Chinese Super league was great for me

Dimitrij Ovtcharov made an interview with the German newspaper Franffurter Allgemeine Zeitung few days before the final of his participation in the Chinese table tennis Super league. Here is what the second best in Europe has said:

Franffurter Allgemeine Zeitung (F.A.Z): You are playing in the Chinese Super League. How important is this tournament for you?

Dimitrij Ovtcharov: “It’s a new experience for me. It’s the first time that I play in the Super League. It’s great that the country shows so much passion for the sport. We were in different places every two days, where most of them were full of people and you can meet the best players in the world. This is a big challenge for me, because it will help me to give the next step in the sport.”

F.A.Z: Do you have something like a favorite Chinese opponent? 

Dima: “It’s hard to say. There are so so many good players. It can’t be said that the first ten Chinese players in the World Ranking list are the strongest, because all are really strong opponents. We can count around 20 or 30 players, who have a good level.”Dimitrij-Ovtcharov

F.A.Z: How is it to play in front of Chinese spectators? 

Dima: “Different. German spectators are very quiet. They watch the match and are very calm the whole time Chinese spectators are more expressive and there is always a lot of noise. For example, when they like a rally, they scream enthusiastically or when they think that it isn’t good, they do the same as well.”

F.A.Z: Does that annoy you?

Dima: No, In fact, I like that, because you can see that people are fascinated for what you are doing in every ball. The atmosphere is like the one of a basketball match.”

F.A.Z: So do German people just lack interest in table tennis?

Dima: That couldn’t be fair. The situation is completely different. I think that the big diffence is that table tennis is a media sport. This means that every 3 days a table tennis match is broadcast by CCTV, it’s like football in a big TV channel in Germany. Less important matches can be broadcast in regional channels, so people keep informed of what happens and can follow the sport better.”

Franffurter Allgemeine Zeitung (F.A.Z): What have you seen in China so far?

Dimitrij Ovtcharov: “In fact my day is completely planned. We are in different places every two days, because the Super League is played in different places of the country. We also train a lot, so days pass fast. I don’t have so much time to visit sightseeing or know cities. But I’m not a big sightseeing fan anyway. I have been many times to China, so I have already seen the most important.”

F.A.Z: In June at the China Open, you paired up with Yan An and were beaten by Timo Boll and Ma Long in the final. How did the German-Chinese team work?

Dima: “It was a very interesting time for us. Unfortunately, Chinese players don’t speak English very well, so we rarely talk apart from “hello”, “bye” and “How are you?” At the China Open, we played together in doubles and we had to talk that time. We realized that after a while Chinese players become less shy and more open. At the end, it could be seen that it was fun and we had fun as well. I will compete in the Harmony China Open too and I will pair up with another Chinese player.”

F.A.Z: This transnational pairing is in the framework of China to help in the development of table tennis in Europe. Dou you think that China really wants to provide development assistance? 

Dima: “At least I would be interesting to see how they prepare for a match. In fact, it can be said that their preparation before a match is very similiar to ours. It would be more interesting to see how they prepare for World Championships. I think that most of their real secrets are there. But it’s a good experience to know a bit more of their playing style.”

F.A.Z: “What did your Chinese team mates learn fron you?

Dima: “They are interested in knowing how the best European players started. They also want to know how Timo and I train. At the China Open we communicated with some words, and hands and feet. They also asked us where we train, how and who with.”

F.A.Z: It is planned to allow transnational pairings in big international competitions. 

Dima: “At the Olympics, that won’t be possible, because the union of each country must be preserved. But it can be considered in World Championships, World Tour tournaments and maybe at the German Open that will be held this year. In World Championships it was prohibited 20 years ago but in these years it has been thought that this rule doesn’t have to be too strict.”

F.A.Z: How would this impact on table tennis? 

Dima: “This would be an important step for the sport and for players in general, because only Chinese players are in the World doubles finals and that isn’t very interesting. A final match with a Chinese-German pairing agaist another Chinese-German pairing or Chinese-French pairing would be very good.”

F.A.Z: What can you say about your experience in the Chinese Super League? 

Dima: “In general it was very good. The Chinese food was a bit difficult to get used to it, because it is different in every region. Some days ago we were in Sichuan that is known by its spicy food. Then we were in another place, where all food is cooked with chillies. Besides, it was very hot there and humidity levels are extreme. I got a cold there. But on the other hand, people are very nice and I had a lot of fun during matches in the extraordinary sport halls. Besides, there weren’t only new food and weather every two or three days, but also new sport challenges.”

F.A.Z: What is there next for you after the Super League?

Dima: “I will back to Germany on 1st August. Ten days later I will be back in China for the Harmony China Open. Then I will rest some days and I will be preparing for the European Championships during September.”

The interview has been translated by tabletennista.com here and here

Interview with Ryu Seung Min

The interview is taken by tabletennisdaily.co.uk

ryuseunginterviewFull Name: Ryu Seung Min
Age: 30
Date Of Birth: 05 August 1982
Height: 177cm
Club represented: TTF Ochsenhausen and in korea I play for Samsung
Highest World Ranking: 2

Equipment – Peter wants to know what do you use? Butterfly

Blade: Ryu Seung Min G-Max
FH Rubber: Tenergy 05
BH Rubber: I don’t have a backhand rubber

Your career

How long have you been playing table tennis for, when did you start?

I started 23 years ago at age of 8

EditingSports asks, Who has been the biggest influence on your career?

My family

Svttc asks, How did it feel when you beat Wang Hao in the 2004 Olympics?

I had lots of confidence as I approached the match. Before the Olympics I had very good training I believe this helped.

What did you do the night you won the 2004 Olympics? Can you remember?

I slept that night because I had blood doping control

Yosua Yosan asks, What is your major goal in your lifetime career in the sport of table tennis?

My major goal throughout my career has been to achieve an Olympic gold medal.

Ryu Seung Min – Photo by: Reuters

RubinTM asks, Who is the toughest opponent you have ever faced on the international circuit?

For me it has to be the Chinese players

ttmonster asks, What is the biggest regret of your playing career, if you have any?

I have no regrets

How come you are not attending this years WTTC Ryu?

I don’t play for the national team anymore that is why.

Equipment

TerIphik – Hi, I would like to know if the material (rubbers and blades) of professional players is the same to the same material as we (nonprofessional) buy in table tennis shops?

I think there is a little difference yes.

Filip asks,What is the difference between you in 2004 when you were at your top level and now?

Now all players have better technique and move faster. Lots of players have a higher quality on their shots. My style needs a lot of movement and power. 10 years ago I had the best footwork and was able to move fastest with most power, now I am a little slower than back in 2004.

Yosuayosan, Has the glue ban affected your style of play?

Of course, however for every player it is the same. But for my playing style I feel I have been effected a great deal.

jedimasterplk asks: Why do pro’s like tenergy so much – what differentiates it from other rubbers

This is a difficult question to answer. I cannot compare but if you look so many players use Tenergy, even players who are sponsored by other companies.

Have you tried the new ball that will be in place in July 2014? What are your thoughts on changing the ball?

I have not tried the new ball yet. I don’t know if there is a big difference or not at the moment sorry.

Table Tennis in general

RubinTM asks, Why do you think penholders are less common in the modern game?

This is because the penhold style is a huge defect against the shakehand. If a player is to choose penhold they will play the Chinese style as you have a more free backhand.

Sali asks,I have noticed that you are now trying to play with your backhand, do you think this will aid you when playing against the Chinese?

No I just use my backhand against the Chinese to keep me in the rally. If I don’t use my backhand it is so very difficult. My style is so difficult.

derekho asks,Why did you choose to play in the style you play and have you ever considered trying the reverse pen hold backhand?

I always considered to play backhand but when I was young I chose pen. During the time Kim Taek Soo and Yoo Nam Kyu were the top players in the world so I followed them.

PingPongPom asks,What was it that made you consider moving to Ochsenhausen to start playing in the German league and how are you enjoying the competition so far?

I chose the club because it is a very professional organization for the player. I have been playing for 8 months and I really enjoy it and have a good time.

Ochsenhausen – Photo by: ETTU

pingpingpongpong asks, Have you ever thought about participating in the Chinese Super League or do you prefer European leagues more?

I like both leagues. I think Europe’s league has a more professional setup. But the Chinese League has more stronger players and more spectators.

What languages do you speak?

Korean and a little English.

RubinTM asks, Who do you expect to win the 2013 WTTC?

I expect Ma Long or Xu Xin will win.

Training

Iczy asks, Your style is highly praised for your footwork speed is this the result of hard training or a natural trait you were born with?

For my style it’s very important I move fast, because of this I have always trained very hard on my footwork every day.

Who or what was the inspiration for your amazing footwork?
All past penhold players.

What kind of physical exercises do you do practice for your footwork?

I do a lot of quick speed running mixed with long distance running. I also do a lot of footwork practice in the training hall.

Who do you think has better footwork than you? (past or present players)

I think Ma Lin and xu Xin

EditingSports asks,What keeps you motivated to train hard all the time?
To have a successful table tennis life.

How often do you train?
Now I train 2 times a day.

What do you practice the most? What aspect is most important in the game table tennis?

I think most important is Concentration.

Matches

Super Chopper asks, If you don’t mind Ryu, which players do you find playing difficult against in the top 30 in the world?

All the Chinese players & Timo Boll

Which Chinese player is your favourite to play against?

Ma long

Joelstar asks: What warm ups do you do before a game to get you ready to compete?

Just simple run & stretching

Gauravvrak – Whats your mind strategy when you are 2-0 down. What do you think to have the belief to get back into the match?

Just to focus on the next set. I don’t think about the past set.

Do you watch yourself and opponents on youtube?

Sometimes.

Editing Sports asks, What’s your best match ever?

2007 World Championship Semi Final against Wang Liqin.

Off the topic questions

Who’s the most famous person you know through table tennis?

Jan Ove Waldner.

Who’s your favorite sportsman of all time?

Michael Jordan

Favorite film?

Iron man

What car do you drive?

Bmw x5

What’s your favorite music?

Dance music

What do you do in your spare time other then table tennis?

Just rest or watch movies

Do you eat well or eat junk good?

I can eat everything. Sometimes I eat junk food

Have you browsed the website TableTennisDaily.co.uk before?

Not yet

Your team mates

Who’s the funniest player in the training hall?

Kirill Skachkov

What is your motto in training?

Just focus on the table

Who trains the hardest in the training hall?

The young players.

Who has the best nickname?

I don’t know

And Lastly

And lastly, thanks very much for your kindness in taking part in this interview for all the members of the TableTennisDaily site to learn and know more about the life of a professional player.

Would you like to add one last tip, or an inspirational message to us passionate members of TableTennisDaily?

Thank you for the invite. Thank you for all the support, I wish you good luck

Thanks for your time Ryu!

TableTennisDaily Staff and forum

Interview with Li Xiaoxia

The interview was taken by mhtabletennis.com

Full Name: Li Xiaoxia
Age: 25
Date of Birth: 16th January
Nation Represented: China
Highest World Ranking: 1

Equipment:
Blade: Double Happiness Hurricane Xia
FH Rubber: Hurricane 3
BH Rubber: Nittaku Refoma

How old were you when you started playing table tennis?

I started playing table tennis when I was just 7 years old.

What has been the highlight of your table tennis career so far?

Winning the Olympic Gold medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games. This was always one of my biggest dreams, so it is definitely the highlight.

What is your next big goal for table tennis?

My next goal is to achieve another big dream, to win the World Championships. So my goal is to win WTTC in Paris in one month’s time.

Congratulations on winning the Olympic Games! How did it feel to have an Olympic Gold Medal around your neck after winning the final?

I was very excited and of course very grateful, thank you to everybody for their support, especially to my coach, without him I wouldn’t be here today.

You have won 3 World Championships singles medals, 2 silver and 1 bronze. Do you feel you still have a chance to win a WTTC singles Gold Medal?

My dream is always to be Olympic Champion and World Champion. I won the Olympic Games, I believe now I can have a good chance to win the World Championships.

Who do you think is the best women’s table tennis player of all time? Many would say Deng Yaping or Zhang Yining, what do you think?

Deng Yaping.

You spend most of your time training quite intensely in the Chinese National Squad, do you have much time to see your friends and family during the year too?

I really don’t have much time to see my friends and family. Most of my time is spent with my coach and my teammates, only the Chinese New Year holiday time I get maybe 4 or 5 days to see my family and friends. Very sad, right?

Which country around the world has been your favourite to travel to in your table tennis career?

England, because I win my gold medal there 😉

What do you like to spend your free time doing?

When I’m free I like to go shopping or spend time talking to my family and friends. As long as I spent time with family it doesn’t matter what we do. I just love my family that’s all.

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