Brazilís eighteen year old, Gustavo TSUBOI featured prominently on the ITTF World Junior Circuit in 2003; at the Egyptian Junior Open in February he won the Junior Boysí Singles title whilst, with his compatriot Cazuo MATSUMOTO, he clinched the Junior Boysí Team titles in both Canada and his native Brazil.
Gustavo TSUBOI returns to international competition in Rio de Janeiro
Furthermore, he was on duty for Brazil in the 1st ITTF World Junior Championships in Santiago, Chile in December 2003 but that was his last international tournament in which he played until the current ITTF Pro Tour Brazilian Open in Rio de Janeiro. The reason, TSUBOI has suffered from a back injury and as a result has had to take a five month break from table tennis.
Left handed, shakehands grip, a topspin attacking player, TSUBOI is coached by WEI Jian Ren from the local Itaim Keiko Club; his strength is his service followed by a strong forehand attack. He possesses a wide range of services, varies the spin well and pays careful attention to the areas in which he is going to serve.
The influence of coaching from a man who learnt his skills in China is evident when it comes to returning service; he is very adept playing over the table and receives service well; it is his skills in the early part of the rally that give him the edge over his contemporaries. The backhand attacking strokes when compared with his forehand are not so dynamic, the amount of spin imparted is not so great but his techniques in all aspects of the game appear sound and as he matures he will become stronger both mentally and physically.
At the ITTF Pro Tour Brazilian Open he lost in round one to Vladimir SAMSONOV, himself a player who enjoyed an illustrious junior career; it was a very special experience for TSUBOI competing against such a world renowned star, the young Brazilian having spent the majority of 2004 on the sidelines.
`My main is to find a rhythm once again; to return to the level I reached before my enforced lay off and to gain the same level of results as last year, Iím very keen to play as much as possible and Iím really looking forward to playing in international tournaments again,í said TSUBOI. `I felt I was well enough to play in the Brazilian Open but I now know the areas of my game that need improvement; itís difficult but itís a start. The major problem for TSUBOI is no doubt psychological, returning to full physical fitness and having missed so many matches in recent months is a tough hurdle to overcome and playing SAMSONOV is an awesome proposition.
`Iíve never played anyone of his level before, my aim is just to try to win as many points as possible,í said TSUBOI prior to the match. Certainly he gave a creditable performance, his opponent is of the highest pedigree and the young Brazilian lost in four straight games but for him the main fact was that he was there and once again he had the chance to play table tennis on the international stage.
Letís hope the injury is now behind him, he is a fine player, a fine prospect and a fine ambassador for Brazilian table tennis.