by Simon Daish
Katerina Cechova plays her club table tennis for Hanover 96 in the German Bundesliga’s third division and regularly is placed in the number one spot for the matches.
However, while the 17-year-old is happy with her progress in the league, Cechova believes that her performances on the international stage still requires some improvement “Since I play the number one position I play against quality opponents. The league matches I play with a clear head and I have a better picture on the table and the overall quality game, which unfortunately I can not say the same for at every international tournament.”
Cechova managed to achieve a semi-finals finish in the Junior Girls’ Singles consolation event at the 2016 European Youth Championships, but that came following an exit in the Round of 128 in the main draw for the Czech player. Cechova is hoping that her time in Germany will help to improve her game for future international competitions:
“I guess it’s because I create unnecessary pressure on myself. It’s that feeling when “I should” win and finally get a good result that binds me and I’m far from being able to showcase what I can do in reality… In the league, I feel relaxed and also makes me more comfortable when playing against the players who don’t know because you do not create any prejudice and I’m just trying to do my best” – Katerina Cechova.
Germany is considered to be one of the greater table tennis loving nations in Europe and one of the main differences that Cechova has discovered in her time in the country is the sport’s popularity compared to her home nation, “My experience is clear, the sport is definitely more popular here in Germany than in the Czech Republic. Many more people go to the games and a lot more “amateur” people undergo private sessions with a trainer and then play the lower leagues.”
Yet while Germany may provide her with a strong competitive sporting scene, Katerina Cechova went on to admit that the prospect of a return to the Czech Republic may not be completely out of the question.
“I have no concrete plan yet. First, I have to do a high school diploma in 2019, and then we’ll see what to do next. After the sporting life I would have imagined I would be better abroad. However, in Germany I feel far from home… so I always look forward to training camps in the Czech Republic, which is a welcome change for me” Katerina Cechova.