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Other Events - 14 May 2013

“I’d beat 2003 SCHLAGER easily now”


The player who is high demand in Bercy at the LIEBHERR Worlds Championships is undoubtedly Werner SCHLAGER. Austrian who won the last World title for Europeans 10 years ago at the very same place, is on duty again and under media spot light. He was not ve

The player who is high demand in Bercy at the LIEBHERR Worlds Championships is undoubtedly Werner SCHLAGER. Austrian who won the last World title for Europeans 10 years ago at the very same place, is on duty again and under media spot light.

He was not very active on International scene lately, but he is in Paris, after very strong preparations. “I finally managed to have practice on the regular basis. I could not do it for a long time. I found the expert who helped me with my migraines and from February I am back in saddle again. You can only imagine how it is when you get a big headache at the tournaments. You can only lock yourself in the room,” explained SCHLAGER.

Treatments worked and SCHLAGER build up his physical fitness. “I made good physical foundation, so I can enjoy table tennis again and play at quite well level.”

He also easily qualified for the Austrian team at the LIEBHERR Worlds Championships. “Unfortunately the gap between me and the youngsters are still wide. I have no problems to qualify.”

It is hard to avoid the talk about his big triumph 10 years ago, and what he said surprised us a little. “Now, I’d beat Werner from 2003, even with 5 points advantage on his side. And I am not talking about 21 points game, I am talking about 11 points set.”

This quote came as a surprise, but Werner explained it easily. “I will beat that Werner, but I still will not be a champion. The game changed so much. Like we are talking about completely different sport. The way we can control the points, the speed. Now when I watch the old matches I am so surprised by big difference of the game. When I see me playing I cannot stop thinking “You should kill that ball, you should gain that point”. Everything looks so slow. It is incomparable to today’s table tennis. Today it is much physical demanding and brutal, everything is faster. I think that is the case with all other sports. The changes of rules changed the complete look of the game. Now we will play with the plastic balls. That will affect the game very much too. The good thing is that players adjusted very quick to the changes, and it helped development. “

- You will beat old SCHLAGER, but what about other adversaries here?
“I am not in Paris to be World Champion. I am realistic. I do not say it is impossible, but it is less likely. I love this sport, I finally found the way to enjoy t again and I am here to compete. If I make some surprise in the process, even better. I will go round after round.”

In the second round, SCHLAGER should play against Patrick BAUM. “We know each other very well. He is dangerous player, but he will also have problems with me. It will be open match. However, as I said, let’s finished the job in the opening round first…”

This fall WSA will host European Championships. “WSA and Austrian federation doing great job. I am not very much involved in the organization, but I do not have reason to worry. I hope I will be fit fo theat Championships and able to play.”

 

Milica NIKOLIC, EWT

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