by Simon Daish
Ovidiu Ionescu was one of three Romanians to participate in the Men’s Singles main draw in Düsseldorf, and the 27-year-old was delighted to be given the opportunity to represent his country in front of thousands of fans at Messe Düsseldorf.
“The World Championships is always an amazing event, especially being held in Germany where I have actively played in the Bundesliga for many years now. Being supported by my team supporters in almost every match, gave me a big boost. It is worth practicing hard to have the chance to participate in such an event because the atmosphere here in Germany is just amazing”, Ovidiu Ionescu.
Right from the early stages of the competition Ionescu became a fan favourite contestant, especially following his amazing display of fair play on the second day of the event.
The act of sportsmanship came in the Men’s Doubles category. Denmark’s Jonathan Groth believed that Adrian Crisan’s serve landed on the wrong side of the table, and despite the umpires judging the point in the Romanian duo’s favour Ionescu decided to take Groth at his word and awarded the point to the opposing partnership.
Ionescu instantly won over the respect of the home spectators with the gesture, while a 4-0 victory over the European champion Emmanuel Lebesson of France in the second round of the Men’s Singles main draw (11-8, 12-10, 11-9, 11-8) leaves the Romanian happy with his showing in Düsseldorf.
“I really believe I did a very good job at the tournament. In the Men’s Singles I won against the European champion and then being knocked out by Ma Long in the Round of 32, is a big positive thing. Perhaps in Men’s Doubles if we had won the first round match, we could have had a different final result, but this is why sport is full of surprises…
… Definitely the match against Lebesson was my standout match for the tournament. Beating him 4-0 came also as a surprise for me, but I felt I was ready for this kind of challenge. Also, playing Ma Long in front of 8000 spectators, who were cheering for me, is a moment I will always remember”, Ovidiu Ionescu.
Romania continues to show good progress in both the men’s and women’s game and the country is widely considered to be one of the top teams in the European game.
With the Liebherr 2017 ITTF-European Team Championships on the horizon, Ionescu is hoping to see his nation live up to that statement by winning silverware in Luxembourg.
“In September the European Team Championships are being held. Our team is getting stronger; all the players are improving and I really hope we will all be healthy and in good shape to be able to fight for a medal. It would be a really big achievement. I really believe we are ready for this challenge”, Ovidiu Ionescu.