by Simon Daish
Defeating some of the European continent’s strongest competitors at China Construction Bank 2018 ITTF-Europe Top 16 Cup, Timo Boll set a new record in March 2018 by becoming the oldest male player to reach the World no.1 spot – an amazing feat which has led to some sports fans drawing comparisons to another racquet sport legend Roger Federer who holds the same record in tennis.
The player whom Boll overcame to lift the Europe Top 16 Men’s Singles trophy was the man he replaces at the summit of the Men’s World Rankings, Dimitrij Ovtcharov. Despite losing his status as World no.1, Ovtcharov is pleased to see the mantle being passed over to his fellow countryman and close friend:
“I am very happy for Timo and personally it is of course much nicer in this case, that a good friend replaces me… it’s great for German table tennis. Of course, I would like to have stayed up [at the top of the rankings] even longer but two months is a good start… Timo has been playing at an incredibly high level over the last 12 to 13 months and now he has the momentum on his side and therefore deserves to be number one…” Dimitrij Ovtcharov
Boll’s rise to the top of the list for the first time since March 2011 comes following a positive outing on last year’s international circuit, collecting silverware on the ITTF World Tour stage as well as an impressive silver medal finish at the Liebherr 2017 ITTF-Men’s World Cup. Boll has also made a promising start to 2018, with his success at the Europe Top 16 Cup in early February.
Germany has now occupied first position in the Men’s World Rankings table for three consecutive months with Ovtcharov leading the way prior to Boll. Head coach of the German national men’s team Jörg Rosskopf is pleased to see the country maintain its place at the top of the list.
“It’s incredibly strong that with Timo, who replaced Dima, we have the second German in such a short time as number one in the world rankings. Timo played very well at the Europe Top 16 and with the new system everything is possible. However, the proof that he deserves it is that he can keep up with almost anyone even at the age of 36… This will of course give him even more energy and confidence for the next tournaments such as the Qatar Open and the German Open or the World Team Championships at the end of April…” Jörg Rosskopf
Timo Boll is undeniably back to playing some of his best table tennis and, with victories over the likes of Ma Long and Dimitrij Ovtcharov in the past six months, the sky appears to be the limit for the new World no.1.