by Simon Daish
Understandably Sathiyan Gnanasekaran is ecstatic with his rankings achievement and is hoping to reach even greater heights in the future.
“It’s a huge milestone for me and feels great to achieve my dream of reaching the top 50. I will set myself higher targets now and I’m looking to break into the top 20 next year. My initial target was set at reaching the top 60 but finishing the year at 49 was a pleasant surprise.” Sathiyan Gnanasekaran.
Gnanasekaran was very much an active competitor on the ITTF World Tour over the course of last year and represented his country at the Liebherr 2017 ITTF World Championships.
However, surely Gnanasekaran’s biggest achievement of the year came at the 2017 ITTF Challenge Spanish Open in Almeria where the Indian star saw off Japan’s Kazuhiro Yoshimura to lift the Men’s Singles trophy at an ITTF Challenge Series event for the first time.
“The main difference this year was that I did not hold back and took calculated risks. I went for my shots, took bold steps and did not worry about results which gave me a lot of confidence to beat top players.” Sathiyan Gnanasekaran.
Sharath Kamal Achanta has for many a year been a shining beacon for Indian table tennis becoming the first player from the country to claim a Men’s Singles title on the ITTF World Tour in 2010. As of January 2018 Achanta is no longer India’s highest world ranked senior player, that honour instead falls to Gnanasekaran.
Confidence appears to be at an all-time high for Gnanasekaran, who for the past five years has been working under the guidance of former Olympian Subramaniam Raman.
“Sathiyan is the first home-bred world-class player in the truest sense. He has majorly played in India and hasn’t received any foreign training as such. This goes on to prove that Indian coaches, if fully committed, are competent enough to match world-class coaches… This is just the beginning; he’s only 24 and is already ranked 49th. We’re aiming to move further and are currently looking at the top 20, then reaching a single figure ranking and winning an Olympic medal. We’re aiming big, dreaming big and working big.” Subramaniam Raman.