Hungarian team practices with European championsPhoto: Szilvi Hoffer
Hungarian team practices with European champions
Until Friday, the Hungarian men's table tennis team will prepare in Stockerau, together with the best of Austria’s men table tennis players.
The Stani Fraczyk Arena can be said to be legendary, as Ferenc KARSAI, who led Werner SCHLAGER to the world champion title, worked in the hall for many years. These days it is the host of the training camp of the Austrian and Hungarian national teams.
“During the coronavirus situation, we had previously discussed this training camp with the coach of the Austrian national team and the sports director of the local association. The opportunity gave to us as we are close to each other, we have known each other for a long time, we had the contact and we finally managed to get together for this week. This is a hall with six “rooms”, and since there is a limitation on the number of people, we could only come with four players” explained Péter MUSKÓ, head coach of the men’s table tennis team, the details of the cooperation.
Schlager is not the last Austrian ping pong player to gain glory for his homeland, as in 2015 the team marked by Róbert GÁRDOS, Daniel HABESOHN and Stefan FEGERL became European champion. So, our players can truly learn from them.
“After many months, we were finally able to come abroad, and we can work with the European Champion Austrian national team, which is a great honor for us” said Nándor ECSEKI. – “All three are European-class players, so this is a very good opportunity for us to develop. They are very precise, strong and extremely fast players, I really felt that during practices. You can clearly feel that this is a slightly different category from ours, but with time I think we can achieve this level.”
Ádám SZUDI also enjoys a lot working together with our western neighbors: “We have been training with each other in Budapest for a relatively long time, so, even from this point of view it is good that we are able to play with others now. Of course, we are still in the preparation period, I also struggled with minor injuries, so I am not in my best form yet, but I am on my way to get back on the level where I was before.”
The members of the national team have repeatedly said that they try to turn this epidemic situation to their advantage as much as they can. Bence MAJOROS sees it that they are on the right way to achieve that: “There is always room for improvement, and obviously competition gives the best feedback on the work you have done, but I think everyone has improved a lot technically, physically and mentally, so I can say that the last few months were worth something not just lost time.”
Due to the injury of Tamás LAKATOS, Csaba ANDRÁS found out at the last minute that he could travel to Stockerau with the others.
“It feels very good to train with the European champions, they play at a completely different speed than the young players, players with my age, but I try to compete with them” shared his thoughts the youngest member of the Hungarian delegation, who is trying to learn as much as possible from his excellent training partners. – “I watched Daniel HABESOHN'S shifts from backhand to straight strokes, and I really like Robi GÁRDOS’S game above the table. I also like their mental ability, which allows them to do the training with the same intensity throughout the whole session.”
Daniel HABESOHN turned 34 during the training camp, so he already has seen many things in his life, but he was also happy for the Hungarian guests.
“For hygienic reasons, for a long time we only trained with each other, so we are very happy with the arrival of the Hungarian team. The practices are so much more varied this way, and it is always good to see and play against other styles, it benefits everyone.”
Róbert GÁRDOS returned to Austria from his home in Spain.
“In Spain, the halls are closed, only the larger training centers are open, and I do not live in such a place, I live in Granada” started the Hungarian-born foundational player of the Austrian national team. – “I built a small ”hall” in my house, I used to train there. I have a 58-year-old Chinese coach who has been a pretty good player before. We train four times a week. I also came here now to get feedback on what needs to be improved on my training in Spain.”
The Hungarian national team will train in Austria until Friday, and then will travel to Slovakia for a friendly match.