World Number 1 preparing well for showdown in MontreuxPhoto: ITTF
China Construction Bank 2018 ITTF Europe Top 16 Cup
This weekend will see the top players in Europe descending on beautiful Montreux, Switzerland for the China Construction Bank 2018 ITTF Europe Top 16 Cup. It’s a tournament that the number one male player in the world, Dimitrij Ovtcharov, knows well. He has won it the last three years in a row.
We caught up with the German star to find out what he has been up to since finishing the World Tour Grand Finals in Astana at the end of last year and how his Montreux preparations are going.
Dima, it was a busy year that finished in Astana, how did you spend Christmas and New Year?
For Christmas, I was together with family in Sweden, all Jenny’s family, and my parents. It is always nice when we are all together. We played a lot of games, ate well, laughed a lot too. It was really very nice as usual.
For New Year, Jenny and I spent some quality time with good friends on the Maldives. It was a much-needed vacation after a very busy year. It was very relaxing, I recharged the batteries, such beautiful ocean, landscape and nature there. It was very nice, but since then I’m back at work!
You have won the Europe Top 16 Cup three times in a row. This time you will be playing also as world number 1, your first tournament since you reached the summit of world table tennis. Will any of this affect your approach to the event?
Yes, perhaps more attention than usual this time, but yes three Europe Top 16 Cups, of course all of them were extremely tough. They are very strong competitors in Europe. Lately I feel the players are playing better against me than usual, they have nothing to lose, they risk a lot. I have to handle that and believe in my game, and staying calm in any situation. Of course, my goal is to win the event, but first to qualify for the World Cup, then get to the final and then I will try to bring the trophy back home. As I say, it will be difficult, I expect a hard tournament, it’s the first one of the year, with more than a month since the last competition, it’s important to find a good rhythm.
What goals do you have for 2018?
Yes, another busy year ahead. European Championships singles, and the World Team Cup will let us see where we are as we prepare for the World Team Championships, the biggest event. I think after the Olympics many have thought that Germany is on the way down but I think we have proved different. We are very determined and motivated for the Worlds, especially after a very very bad World Team Championships two years ago, when we weren’t able to make it to the podium. This time, we want to get back on the podium, to give China and Japan a good fight. We are up for it! Personally for 2018, I want to stay one of the top players in the world, and to play consistently at a high level, to work on my game to have less weaknesses and more strengths and become a better player in the future.
Any messages for table tennis fans around the world?
It’s very nice that most of the big events this year are in Europe, the Team World Cup and the World Team Championships. This could be an advantage for us. I hope that will allow all fans, especially in Europe and in Germany to come to the events and support the German team and myself.
Follow Dimitrij and all of Europe’s best players in Montreux, you can get all the action on Laola.TV, and on our digital and social media channels:
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