By Neha Aggarwal (Interview by Iulia Necula)
An all German Men’s Singles final in Incheon on Sunday 23rd April is certainly a positive sign for Germany and a warning for China.
Patrick Franziska has been out of action for the last few months due to a hip injury and Timo Boll had just not been in great form in the recent years. He lost in the round of 16 at the Olympic Games in 2016 and recently in the quarter-finals of the Euro Top 16 in early 2017.
But, as you can see, the men are back.
Although the Chinese are absent in Incheon, one cannot discount their performances, reaching at the penultimate stage is no joke.
The man always behind their back is none other than Jörg Rosskopf.
“I am very pleased with their performance and I am especially happy for Patrick’s comeback after his hip injury. He recovered very fast and improved in the last month, capable to ensure easy victories against very strong players. He is very confident and determined to have a good result at the Liebherr 2017 World Table Tennis Championships.” – Jörg Rosskopf.
The world will be expecting miracles from Timo Boll as he competes on home soil at in the World Championships. “Timo is in very good shape at the moment, very focused on the World Championships! He has no injuries, he is moving fast and has a lot of fun playing. Being able to perform on home soil in front of the German audience really motivates him for singles and doubles events, ” says Rosskopf.
Testing himself before the big event, Timo Boll would have had the best warm up had the Chinese powerhouse been present at Incheon. “He is present here in Korea as preparation before Düsseldorf, as needs to play many matches. It’s a pity that none of the top Chinese players are here to confront with,” admitted the self critiqued Rosskopf.
The German Army
The selection of the German National Team for Düsseldorf was a struggle for Ruwen Filus who had to compete in the qualification matches to win the fifth position in the team. Rosskopf now has a herculean task to fill in the sixth spot. Not that he is complaining, it only affirms their strength in numbers.
Currently, after Dimitrij Ovtcharov (no.5), Timo Boll (no.10), Patrick Franziska, Steger Bastian and Ruwen Filus (no.34), Rosskopf will have to choose one player amongst a whole bunch which would certainly include Benedikt Duda (51), Ricardo Walther (55), Steffen Mengel (58) and Patrick Baum (75).
“I still have not decided yet who will be the last joining the German delegation; making the announcement is always though,” confessed Rosskopf.
The Liebherr 2017 World Table Tennis Championships is just five weeks away and the Germans will be busy playing the Bundesliga matches, European Champions League matches which will be followed by two training camps. The team of Korea Republic and Hong Kong will also join their preparation in Düsseldorf later in May.
Warning to China?
So what can we expect from the Germans in Germany?
“We will play at home and of course we want to perform well. There is nothing more gratifying than winning on home soil,” said the enlightened Rosskopf. He continued:
“It’s quite tough to play both the Asian Championships and the World Championships in such a short period of time, which can be an advantage for us. We just witnessed the huge upsets last week which prove that the Chinese are not unbeatable. I am sure this is a warning signal for them as well.”- Jörg Rosskopf.
Moreover, the talk of the town is that the Chinese have had problems adjusting to the new ball. We wonder how the Germans feel about it?
“We could not practice that much with the new balls but none of our players seems to be facing difficulties adapting to it. Although the new ball tends to have less spin and stops on the table, it seems to be having a more constant bounce,” explained Jörg Rosskopf.
Rosskopf is only positive, the German players will have an added advantage of home support and are in good shape, the Chinese are not infallible, and the energies are all positive. The training is top notch.
What does this indicate?
Will we see a non-Chinese, European champion in Düsseldorf?
Keep an eye from Monday 29th May to Monday 5th June 2017.