SAMSONOV: Each win is a specialPhoto: ZHURAVLEV
The 11 times TTCLM winner, who will defend the title with Orenburg in the 2015/16 season, reminds us on the latest final against Borussia and speaks about his new aims. The draw will be held today at 18h00 CET
Everybody will agree that Vladimir SAMSONOV is true sportsman, personification of Olympic spirit and all possible values of sport. There is no too much athletes on the planet who lasts 20 years in the world`s top, reaching medals almost each year and being a role model to the youngsters and future stars. His steadiness is unbelievable and worthy of admiration. Next spring he will turn 40.
The silver medal on the 1997 World Championships in Manchester is considered as his best accomplishment. But, it must be emphasized too that he is the 1997 Pro Tour Grand Finals winner in Hong Kong, four times EURO-TOP 12 winner, 26 times Pro Tour winner, the silver medalist of the recent 2015 European Games in Baku...
Maybe there is no better person than him to announce the 2015/16 TTCLM draw which will be held today (18h00 CET) in Bratislava. Not just because of his 11 titles, but also bearing in mind his dedication to this event for almost two decades. Great Byelorussian took his latest TTCLM title six weeks ago, as Orenburg beat Borussia Dusseldorf 3:0 at home in the returning final leg (they lost 3:1 away).
What was the crucial in the rematch against German side, we asked actual world`s no. 8 first of all?
"Of course, every match was important. Dima (OVTCHAROV) had a most of the pressure. Alex (SMIRNOV) played just unbelievably"
You already stressed that every final is special, but what was the difference between the latest one and previous ten?
"It is true, each win is special. This time, after the first final, I do not think that many people believed that we can turn it around. It is hard to explain what happened, but everything went the way we wanted. We started to lead, Dima beat Timo 3-0!!!, and the "Amazing" Alex was back. Spectators went crazy. It was definitely our day."
Are you satisfied with this season so far?
"Yes, two titles with my club, great result in Qatar and Baku, not too bad."
What will be your targets in the rest of the year?
"Would be great to play well in the European Championships, World Tour... Finals (if qualified) and everything else..."
How do you see chances of European players to do something special in 2016 Olympics in Rio, and what would be your aim in Brazil?
"For the Europeans, winning few medals is very realistic. Hope to be amongst them".
Vladimir SAMSONOV debuted on major table tennis stage in 1993 World Championships in Gothenburg, reaching Round of 16. He looking forward his sixth Olympic Games in Rio 2016, after Atlanta 1996 (QF), Sidney 2000 (QF), Athens 2004 (Rd of 16), Beijing 2008 (Rd of 16) and London 2012 (Rd of 16).
First he will be focused on the 2015 LIEBHERR European Championships in Ekaterinburg, from September 25th to October 4th. He is the three times European Championships winner (Eindhoven 1998, Courmayeur 2003, Aarhus 2005) and three times runner-up (Belgrade 2007, Saint-Petersburg 2008, Schwechat 2013). He debuted on ECH in Birmingham 1994, reaching Round of 16, and have never been under that level so far.