A stalwart member of the Romanian team since making his debut in Manchester in 1997, Adrian Crisan has always been a player who can pose problems for the very best.
Now 32 years old; he has for some 15 years been a regular face in the international arena.
He is a talented player from a country that has proud traditions in the sport of table tennis; therefore, it is somewhat surprising that he possesses only on ITTF Pro Tour Men’s Singles title. He won in Brazil in 2005.
London will be his fourth consecutive Olympic Games appearance.
He made his debut in Sydney in 2000, Adrian Crisan has caused one star name in particular problems over the years.
A Major Challenger The player is Germany’s Timo Boll, the fourth seed in the Men’s Singles event at the London 2012 Olympic Games and seen by many as the major challenger to the might of China.
On the ITTF Pro Tour, the two have met three times with the most recent meeting being shrouded in controversy.
Controversy In 2004 Adrian Crisan won when the pair met at the Japan Open; on the next occasion it was success for Timo Boll in 2005 on home soil in Germany; then in 2008 at the Erke German Open the two met in the Men’s Singles quarter-finals.
Adrian Crisan won the match, the pair shook hands but later the Romanian’s racket failed the testing procedures. Adrian Crisan advised that he had presented his racket for testing prior to the event but as to whether that was the racket used or accidently a different racket was employed is open to conjecture.
Many More Times However, the two have met many more times being regular opponents in club competitions.
“I think I've beaten him 14 times; if I play well with my backhand and if I can return his service, then I have a chance against him”, explained Adrian Crisan. “Last time in the Bundesliga, I lost but I had three match points."
Difficult Hurdle However, prior to a potential meeting with Timo Boll, Adrian Crisan has a difficult hurdle to overcome.
He has to play “Juanito”; the one and only He Zhiwen; the oldest player in the table tennis events at the London Olympic Games. The Spaniard is 50 years old and he is the wise sage of table tennis.
Accustomed to Pressure Adrian Crisan has nothing to lose; the pressure is on Timo Boll but that is something to which the German is accustomed.
“I am used to living under a certain pressure and you have to put pressure on yourself to reach the top level; it is my fourth Olympic Games but I feel I have everything under control”, said Timo Boll. “All the conditions for good results exist, the preparations have been excellent but I guess that is the same also for my opponents.”
Good Players Adapt The ExCeL Arena is top class, the only comment being the bounce of the ball is higher in the competition hall as opposed to the practice hall.
Good players adapt but in the London 2012 Olympic Games they must adapt quickly, especially the stars.
Dangerous “In the singles it is dangerous to start in the third round, you have to be very careful about that; maybe it would have been better to enter in the second round, but if you want to win a medal, you have to win the first match”, added Timo Boll. “We do not have an easy draw in the team event; against Sweden in the first round it is not so easy.”
If it was easy it would not be the Olympic Games.
Meet China “Of course it is a pity, that we have to meet China, if we reach the semi-final but there is long way before the semi-final”, concluded Timo Boll. “I think; I have the power to play both singles and team event; I will play all out in both.”
He has the power, the ability and the talent. He will not disappoint whatever the outcome and neither will Adrian Crisan; potentially and intriguing match is in the offing.