OVTCHAROV initiated new era in EuropePhoto: Elena ELISEEVA
The 27 years old German completed the 2015 LIEBHERR ITTF European Championships unbeaten
Germany's Dimitrij OVTCHAROV completed the 2015 LIEBHERR ITTF European Championships unbeaten. The winner two years ago in Schwechat, retained his Men’s Singles title in the Russian city of Ekaterinburg. In the final he beat Portugal’s Marcos FREITAS in five games to secure the crown. The 27 years old German also emerged successfully in all the matches in Men’s Team event earlier in the proceedings and had been the pivotal player in guiding the teammates to the silver medal.
How can you compare the moment when you defended your crown to the moment of winning the first title two years ago?
"It is hard to describe how happy I was. At the same time, at that moment I was under enormous pressure. I was overwhelmed and that is why I tore the shirt off my body after the final! With the first title a dream came true. Now, with the second crown, a new era in Europe has been initiated," said OVTCHAROV.
When you turn around and look at yourself two years ago, how much you have changed?
" I certainly become a better player since then. I have replaced Timo BOLL as a German's and thus also as a European number one. Now I am the first challenger to the Chinese. I am happy about the way things develop. All the changes happened as a result of the very hard work.
Do you find your current role of a leader in Germany and in Europe stressful or motivated?
"That depends on the situation. Mostly, however, it is motivating for me. I am already more than two years the best ranked European player and to this point I won five or six major titles at the Continent. I will continue to work hard to stay at the top in Europe."
You merged most important European titles, the Top 16, European Games and European Championships. Beside winning gold, what will be the special moments for you for which you will remember Baku and Ekaterinburg?
"Baku was very special for me as I put myself to the disposal of being the international Athlete Ambassador and therefore also had received questions on political level, although I intended to solely concentrate myself on the sport. The European Championships was played in Ekaterinburg in my club’s, Fakel Orenburg Gaszprom, neighborhood. I received warm welcome from the fans. That was a good feeling. The crowd at all three Championships was very supportive, which was very nice.”
How much playing in Chinese Super League helped you improve your game and are you going to play there next season?
“It is always beneficial for the European players to spend several weeks on training and playing with the Chinese players and teams. It is a privilege that only a few may experience. It helps improve your game physically and mentally. It is completely different level of play. Basically it helps me very much. Next year I will not play in China. That is not possible, in the year of the Olympic Games.”
How will you prepare for Rio 2016?
“First of all, for me it is a great advantage that I have already secured the place at the Olympic Games, thanks to the victory at the European games this summer. For others there is a long and uncertain journey ahead. I earned privilege to organize my preparations better and to work at the highest level to be ready for the Olympics. We already made initial schedule, but it is not finalized yet.
In London 2012 OVTCHAROV won two bronze medals; in Singles and Team Event.
“To Rio I will travel with the same expectations like I have at any other tournament I play. I want to play at my best level in every game and to win. I hope for the success until the very end of the tournament ... In London I clinched two medals; I will give everything to repeat this in Rio. I hope not only to repeat, but to improve my performance and take home the medals of brighter colors.”
The new season TT CLM started; what is your opinion about the competition, main adversaries and Fakel's aspirations?
“The Table Tennis Champions League Men has become a great event. And of course, we want to defend our title.”
How much your marriage helped you find stability in the game?
“The ring on my finger and my wonderful wife Jenny help me a lot ! Jenny was a very good player and knows the sport inside out,” said best ranked European player at the World Rankings at position no. five, Dimitrij OVTCHAROV.