By Neha Aggarwal
After a rather disappointing show in 2016, Dimitrij Ovtcharov is slowly returning to where he belongs. He was absent from the Perfect 2016 World Team Championship at Kuala Lumpur due to an injury. At the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, he bowed out to the legendary Vladimir Samsonov in the quarter-finals. Later at the Liebherr 2016 Men’s World Cup he was eliminated in the round of 16 and in the round of 32 at the Liebherr 2016 ITTF European Championships.
The world was wondering what is up with the German.
But the 2012 London Olympic Games bronze medallist would never disappoint his fans.
After a sizzling start to 2017, he is headed to New Delhi, where he will be defending his crown. Seven years ago, at the 2010 ITTF Pro Tour India Open, he won the Men’s Singles title defeating Korea’s Seo Hyundeok in the final. Speaking about his expectations this week, a grounded Ovtcharov responded, “My goal is always to come as close as possible to my personal maximum performance. The same is for the India Open in New Delhi.”
The Indian fans are eagerly waiting for the master to showcase his magical serves and classic counter attacking game; Ovtcharov is equally thrilled.
“I am excited to play in India. I think table tennis there is getting more and more famous. Actually I am really looking forward to playing in front of the Indian table tennis fans.”- Dimitrij Ovtcharov
However, there is one Indian who is hungrily waiting for Ovtcharov’s arrival. Two days ago India’s top player Sharath Kamal Achanta revealed that he is determined for a revenge of his four-nil semi final loss against Ovtcharov at the 2010 ITTF Pro Tour India Open. But the German has different thoughts for the Indian legend. “Well, Achanta is my friend, we know each other for a long time. He often practises in Düsseldorf and I am always very glad to meet him and talk to him. He is great fighter with an unbelievable spirit,” said Ovtcharov.
“At this point he is a kind of role model for me and a lot of other professional players. He is a real sportsman at the table and a gentleman beside the table. It is never easy playing him.” Dimitrij Ovtcharov on Sharath Kamal Achanta
Apart from Kamal, younger players like Soumyajit Ghosh and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran have made a mark at the international arena and Ovtcharov is cautious of them. He explained, “In addition there is a new generation of Indian players who are improving a lot at the moment. I am curious to see how they have improved during the last months and how they will show up in front of their home crowd.”
The fans are waiting, Kamal is hungry and the world is watching. At the moment, Ovtcharov, lovingly called Dima, looks unstoppable. He is on a mission, to defend his India Open title and score a hat trick of titles.
The tournament will commence on Thursday 16th February 2017, preceded by the qualification tournament which starts on Thursday 14th February.
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