by Simon Daish
Andrej Gacina will be appearing at the event for the fourth occasion, having participated at the 2014, 2015 and 2016 renditions of the competition. In Antibes, Gacina will be hoping to progress beyond the group stage for the first time.
Despite having dropped three spots in February’s ITTF World Rankings, Gacina is confident that he can enjoy a strong outing at the 2017 Europe Top 16 event and is ready to fight it out against Europe’s finest players.
“I am feeling great, I have had a strong practice from the start of the New Year. I had some injuries after that but now I am feeling fit and ready for new challenges. I only have one aim at the tournament, to fight for every point and give my best”, Andrej Gacina.
The year 2016 proved to be a difficult for Andrej Gacina on the world stage, with injury problems hindering his chances at several high profile events.
Unfortunately for Croatia’s Gacina, a fourth place finish in his qualifying group saw him end up in 15th position at the 2016 Europe Top 16 competition in Gondomar, Portugal – an opening match defeat to Great Britain’s Paul Drinkhall at Rio 2016 followed.
Sweden’s Anton Kallberg then eliminated Gacina from the Liebherr 2016 European Championships in the Men’s Singles Round of 32, and the Croatian player is looking to put a tricky year behind him.
“2016 was not a good year for me, it started well but then I started to have many small injuries which put me away from the table for some time. Same thing happened when I got injured just one hour before my match at the Olympic Games… The injuries kept coming until the end of 2016, so 2016 was definitely a year to forget”, Andrej Gacina.
Moving forward, 30-year-old Gacina is feeling optimistic about the year ahead. He has laid out specific targets which he is hoping to achieve in 2017 with his main focus being on maintaining a good level of fitness.
“I am positive now, I’ve started practicing well in 2017 and I’m positive about coming back in good shape. The aims for 2017 are to stay healthy and give my best at practice and in all competitions I am taking part in”, Andrej Gacina.