by Simon Daish
For Dimitrij Ovtcharov 2018 has been somewhat of a roller coaster experience. Beginning the year at the summit of the ITTF World Rankings list, Ovtcharov entered a lengthy injury spell forcing him to withdraw from the ITTF World Tour events in Doha, Bremen and more recently in Shenzhen.
Despite his fitness struggles the 29-year-old was determined to aid his country at the Liebherr 2018 ITTF World Team Championships in Halmstad, helping Germany to a silver medal finish and also featured in the 2017-2018 Men’s European Champions League final for Russian club TTC Fakel-Gazprom Orenburg.
Following a short stint away from the international scene, Ovtcharov is now back in Germany for the national team’s summer preparation camp at the national training centre in Düsseldorf and fans of the 2017 Men’s World Cup Champion will be delighted to learn that his inflammation in the femoral neck has finally healed.
“Of course, it is always very difficult to cancel my participation in tournaments. Unfortunately, the China Open was not the only tournament I had to cancel this year, but many others as well. I have played some of them, even though I was not in good condition, but I just wanted to help the team – at the World Championships in Halmstad as well as in the Champions League final. Whether this was a good decision to do so in the end, is an open question – my ambition was definitely big enough. Then I took a break. I feel fit now, I am finally without pain and looking forward to returning to the Tour. I actually planned to play the tournaments in Qatar and China this year, not so much Australia because it’s so far away. But now I am looking forward to being in Australia for the first time in my life, and to participating in the event.” Dimitrij Ovtcharov
Before Ovtcharov’s trip to Australia he will be travelling to Daejeon for the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum, SHINHAN Korea Open as the top seeded player in Men’s Singles tournament.
Last year the Korea Open proved to be a happy hunting ground for German competitors with Timo Boll and Patrick Franziska sealing the top two positions in the Men’s Singles category and Ovtcharov, who himself collected silverware at the competition in 2011, is hoping to mark his return to the international stage with a strong outing in Daejeon.
“Korea seems like a good place to go for us Germans. Last year Timo [Boll] and ‘Franz’ [Patrick Franziska] were in the final, and me, too, I have already won the Korean Open. Of course, as the top-seeded player of the tournament, I hope to get as far as possible. Anyway, I am extremely happy currently to be healthy again to give my best in the training sessions. I will take it as it comes.” Dimitrij Ovtcharov