by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Now 37 years old, listed at no.93 on the current Men’s World Rankings, with the likes of Kristian Karlsson, Pär Gerell, Mattias Karlsson and Anton Källberg emerging to prominence, Jens Lundqvist has been somewhat in the international shadows.
However, there is no question that he has been one of the great servants of the national team since we first saw him in action at the 1994 European Youth Championships in 1994 in Paris. On that occasion he won gold in both the Cadet Boys’ Team and Cadet Boys’ Doubles event.
“I was in big trouble in this match. I played better the further the game went, I’ve always been kind of a slow starter and I almost rarely play well in the first round”, Jens Lundqvist
Following the traditions of the late Kjell Johansson, the powerful forehand has been his trademark; somewhat different in style to the “hammer” of his illustrious predecessor but equally effective.
Against Masaki Takami, the forehand served him well in a contest where he maintained the form displayed two days earlier on Monday 14th November in the French League.
Representing Angers Vaillante against La Romange in Pro A, lining up alongside colleague Jon Persson and Emmanuel Lebesson, he beat both Brice Ollivier (8-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-6) and Chen Tianyuan (11-6, 11-7, 6-11, 11-9) in a three-one success.
“My form is really good but it’s really hard to play in different conditions each time. On Monday we played with a completely different kind of ball than now. The bounce and spin is so much different for each ball. Of course we should be able to manage it but it is like playing tennis on clay and the switching to grass, huge difference all the time for the players. I’m really glad I won and hope to play better and better. It doesn’t matter how you win as long as you win, this was a close win but still a win”, Jens Lundqvist
Notably it was the first defeat for Chen Tianyuan in the French League; furthermore the one defeat his team suffered in the fixture was that experienced by Emmanuel Lebesson, the recently crowned European champion. He was beaten by Adrian Crisan in the third match of the contest (15-13, 11-7, 10-12, 11-8).
Such are the vagaries of sport.