by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Notably in the Girls’ Team competition, Italy fielding a very young team finished in 13th place; most pertinently Jamila Laurenti remained unbeaten. On the morning of the fifth day of play, she maintained that record.
“I was nervous, I tried to break the rhythm of her play; after I won the first two games I had a bad run of points. It was difficult for me when she served to my forehand; also her forehand was very strong, often she would move around her backhand to play her forehand. At times my feeling for the ball was not so good.” Jamila Laurenti
Kim Yealin excels playing fast and close to the table but against Jamila Laurenti such a ploy is very difficult; the Italian uses normal reversed rubber on the forehand, anti-spin on the backhand. It is not too far distant from the combination England’s John Hilton used, when at odds of 1,000 to 1, he won the Men’s Singled title at the 1980 European Championships.
The one big difference is that in the days of John Hilton you could have the same colour rubber on both sides of the racket, the man from Manchester was the master twiddler; that option is open to Jamila Laurenti and it is a skill she performs but against Kim Yealin it was very much play safe from the backhand using the anti-spin rubber.
“Playing with anti-spin was a style that was recommended by my father, Giovanni and my personal coach, Franco Martini some two years ago. You cannot play fast from the backhand but it gives me confidence.” Jamila Laurenti
The question for Jamila Laurenti is to whether it will work when cadet and junior days are over; it did for John Hilton.