LIEBHERR EC: Timo BOLL in Ostrava to rewrite history books
07/09/2010 – Bastian STEGER has a severely bruised his chest (rib) at the China Open in August. It seemed okay for a while; STEGER played in Bundesleague/DTTL and participated in the EC training camp last week in Rotenburg. However the pain has some
07/09/2010 – Bastian STEGER has a severely bruised his chest (rib) at the China Open in August. It seemed okay for a while; STEGER played in Bundesleague/DTTL and participated in the EC training camp last week in Rotenburg. However the pain has somehow increased. Now he is forced to withdraw from the 2010 LIEBHERR European Championships in Ostrava.
“He needs to have a break. It does not make sense to play European Championships with only 70 or 80 per cent of his actual capacity,” says Jorg ROSSKOPF, the new national coach and Richard PRAUSE’S successor since August. The cancellation is not only a setback for STEGER himself and the team but also for Patrick BAUM. Doubles BAUM/STEGER won the Korea Open in August and had chances to win a medal in Ostrava, too. Baum’s new partner will now be 18-year-old Patrick FRANZISKA, the reigning European Junior Boys Champion.
Timo BOLL is in good shape but broke his blade last week. For him it is not a catastrophe but anyway he had to find new material at the training camp in Rotenburg last week. “It usually takes about a month to get used to a new blade - he says – but I hope that this time it goes a little quicker”.
The broken blade has not changed his aim for Ostrava. “Our team is the top favorite. Anything but the title would be disappointing, to be open. As we all are strong single players a lot of things would have to go wrong if we had lost a whole team match. Anyway: We must take every opponent seriously and must be alert from the first match on”.
Dimitrij OVTCHAROV pointed that Germany will have difficult job against Greece, Poland and Czech Republic in their group. “Many teams are after us. That was the situation the Swedish team was in for many years. I hope that for us, too, it will take a while until others catch up with us,” says ROSSKOPF. “If we win again the team’s title, it will be easier to play singles and doubles afterwards. The pressure on us as the favorites is high but the players are able to stand it”.
So far Germany has won the team’s title 3 times in a row, 2007, 2008 and 2009. Timo Boll could score another triple. Last year he won the team’s and doubles’ events but lost to Michael MAZE in the semi final in singles.
“As I only became third last year I am the challenger this time. Before Stuttgart last year I suffered from an injury for several weeks. This year I am in good shape and want to make it further up. But it won’t be easy,” he reckons. His main competitors will be Vladimir SAMSONOV and his team mates. Michael MAZE’S shape was not easy to judge after his long break.
29-year-old BOLL has won 10 titles at European Championships so far. Top ranked in the European “hall of fame” is Jan-Ove WALDNER. The Swedish legend scored 11 titles in his career. Catching up with WALDNER is not a hot topic for Boll. “It’s always the press who tells me about such details. I’m not focusing on that. I’m not a record chaser”.
Like the German women the men’s team will arrive in Ostrava on Thursday. The ladies’ formation will consist of the quartet who surprisingly won the bronze medal at the World Championships in Moscow in May plus ZHENQI Barthel who became third in Stuttgart in the doubles competition together with Kristin SILBEREISEN. For top player WU Jiaduo, Kristin SILBEREISEN, Sabine WINTER, and Elke SCHALL the surprise from Moscow does not count any more, as German Sports Director Dirk SCHIMMELPFENNIG explains: “In Ostrava, we have to start all over again. Especially among the ladies the level in Europe is rather even. In our group Croatia, Austria, and our team could play for the medals. And also Turkey’s HU Melek is capable to score points and put any opponent under pressure”. Anyway, the team’s aim is clear: “As 5th in Stuttgart we narrowly missed a medal. In Ostrava we want to win one”.
Elke SCHALL will play European Championships for the 10th time in Ostrava. “European Championships are always something special,” the 37-year-old says. “I will try and show my best performance and then see where it’s leading me”. Even though she is the most experienced player of her team she does not consider herself being the team leader. “In the end, every player is responsible for herself. Once the match has started nobody can help you.
Anyway a good team spirit can spur you on. That’s what made our team strong in Moscow”.
Strong in Moscow: That’s howthe European title holder performed. “Of course I now feel under more pressure than e.g. before Stuttgart,” explains WU Jiaduo. “But I always think positively. I hope to win a medal this year, too – in singles, doubles or with our team. It’s important that we do not put a strain on us by possible results but think from match to match only”.
(by Simone HINZ, courtesy of DTTB)
Click here for more information about 2010 LIEBHERR European Championships
Photo: 2010 German men’s team