Europe Top-16 Cup | 22 Aug 2021

Tomislav PUCAR hopes for re-run of Montreux 2020 at upcoming Europe Top 16

Photo: Rémy Gros

The Pandemic caused many delays and cancellations to events, but since last November, table tennis action in Europe has returned in full swing. Circumstances prevented the Europe Top 16 from taking place in Montreux in February 2021, however we are now less than a month away from the start of the rearranged 2021 POMEGRANATE Europe Top 16 Cup in Thessaloniki. The second biggest city in Greece will welcome the best European players on 18 and 19 September.

The invitations to players to compete in the elite event were based on World Ranking Week #30 2021 and have been sent and confirmations are still coming.

Among the players who have already confirmed their participation are Croatia's Tomislav PUCAR.

"Before Europe Top 16 we will play National championships in Croatia and that will be a very good warm up and test for what is coming. I need to feel the real matches and to prepare well. I will work with the national team in Zagreb. We all know how big this event is and what it means to be invited to play against best European players," said PUCAR.

The Croat had his debut last year in Montreux and on his first appearance he reached the semifinal.

"I even surprised myself. No one expected such a great result. I reached the semifinal. Of course it happened with a little slice of luck since OVTCHAROV was forced to withdraw in the opening match, but then I beat Marcos FREITAS. It was really big success. For this year, I hope I can do something similar, to keep the level," said PUCAR.

This year, the names of top favorites have not changed compared to previous editions of the competition.

"As always Timo BOLL and Dimitrij OVTCHAROV are top favorites for the title. By winning the medal in Tokyo, OVTCHAROV proved he is in perfect shape. A lot of people says that BOLL's timing is off, but I think that is far from true. He is still very dangerous."

PUCAR is one Olympic Games "older", after his last appearance in Montreux; this year he had his Olympic debut in Tokyo.

"I am not very happy with the results from Tokyo. I gave my best, but it was not enough. In singles I lost against Bojan TOKIC of Slovenia. His style proved too uncomfortable for me as few times before. It was 4:0, but not that easy for Slovenia's player as the result predicted. All games concluded by a narrow margin. In the team's event we played against Chinese Taipei and they were clear favorites; we did not get many chances to prove differently," concluded PUCAR.