Werner SCHLAGER still enjoys his gamePhoto: Courtesy ITTF
Perfect 2016 World Team Table Tennis Championships
Only three days before the start of the Perfect 2016 World Team Table Tennis Championships Werner SCHLAGER learned that he would be the part of the Austrian team. He did three trainings, came to Kuala Lumpur and won.
In the opening match in the Group, Austria beat Czech Republic. Stefan FEGERL overcame Tomas KONECNY, Robert GARDOS overcame Lubomir JANCARIK and former World Champion succeeded against Dmitri PROKOPCOV.
“FEGERL and GARDOS made job easier for me. I was relaxed and it helped me play better. With 2:0 advantage I was free from pressure and I was able to focus only on my game. I struggled a little with the conditions here; you have to maintain your focus constantly because the ball bounces very strange,” said SCHLAGER.
WERNER underlined the importance of team spirit.
“I came as a last minute replacement, but it was the decision that came from the all team members. You can feel in our game that special moment when we all work and support each other. I am sure that my contribution is not only as a player, but the team can benefit from my advisory skills and experience.”
Asked for how long he will be in the game SCHLAGER said:
“As long as my body allows me; until I my body listen to my mind…I still enjoy the game and I am having fun.”
Last time when the European team won the title at the team’s event it was in Kuala Lumpur in 2000. Team of Sweden beat China 16 years ago to clinch the title. Now, new generation of players fighting for their place under the sun. Today they showed they are on the good way. Sweden overcame England in the first match in Group B. Kristian KARLSSON lost against Liam PITCHFORD but on the second return to the table he showed no mercy against Paul DRINKHALL.
“I think Liam was ten times better then me today. I was very nervous. In four our previous meetings he beat me so it was not pleasant situation for my confidence,” admitted KARLSSON.
Against DRINKHALL, it was opposite situation. Kristian came as a winner of their previous meetings.
“He has very similar, powerful attacking, style as I have. Today I also felt good playing against him,” said KARLSSON. “Now we have to get ready for our “brotherly” duel against Denmark tomorrow. We know each other and as I saw they played very good against Germany today.”
Jon PERSSON beat Samuel WALKER.
“My service and forehand game was good, but most important I moved well.”
The leaders in Group B, Germany, beat Denmark. They played without Timo BOLL who caught the cold. His condition is not alarming, but coach Jorg ROSKOPF decided to save little bit of his energy for future games.
Bastian STEGER beat both Mikkel HINDERRSON and Claus NILSEN. Claus also suffered by the hands of Patrick FRANZISKA and it was Jonathan GROTH who scored for Denmark against Ruwen FILUS.
Portrugal succeeded against Ukraine. Key player was Marcos FREITAS with two victories over KOU Lei and Yaroslav ZHMUDENKO. Yevhen PRYSHCHEPA suffered by the hands of Tiago APOLONIA.
“We played against each other very long ago. I had to study his game to see how is he playing now,” explained APOLONIA.” It is important for everyone to record the opening match victory; to set a good course. I am very happy that we were the winning team. For Portugal the goal is always the same. We are focused to the next match and we are building our game slowly.”
Tomorrow they will meet Belarus and Singapore.
Despite very good win of Andrej GACINA against JUNG Youngsik and inspirational victory of legendary Zoran PRIMORAC against JOO Saehyuk, Croatia lost full distance the duel against Korea Republic.
Seeded no. 21, Italy, created big upset by beating no. 11 seed – Russia. Mihai BOBOCICA overcame both Mikhail PAIKOV and Kirill SKACHKOV. Niagol STOYANOV overcame Kirill as well.