by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor (Interview by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer)
Nevertheless, reflecting on the day, the 24 year old was not too despondent.
“I am satisfied with my level of play in this competition. I played two matches against two of the world’s best players and I made some mistakes. You cannot make mistakes against players of this level. In the first match against Omar Assar, I had a chance to win but I was unlucky; Alexander Shibaev was a bit tougher for me.” Cédric Nuytinck
Throughout, the Belgians fans gave unrelenting support for what was a most memorable day in the young man’s career.
“I am very happy with the kind of support I got from the fans. This was awesome and I hope I can do this again in my career by playing on the big stage like the World Cup. I was really well prepared knowing this was a special opportunity, like competing in the Olympic Games and World Championship. I feel great pride having played in this competition. It is totally different from all other tournaments because we have only 20 players competing. It is also a learning experience for me in my career and I look forward to playing in more World Cups.” Cédric Nuytinck
It was the first time that Cédric Nuytinck has played in a Men’s World Cup and he is only the second Belgian ever to have competed since the event was first held in Hong Kong in 1980; the other is of course Jean-Michel Saive, very much at the other end of the scale.
He played 18 times, alongside Sweden’s Jan-Ove Waldner more than any other player in the history of the prestigious tournament.
Photos: Christophe Neuville