by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
After winning the boys’ singles title at the 2018 Australian Junior and Cadet Open, since that time Manav Vikash Thakkar has become an integral member of the Indian team.
“I now realise that playing at top level is a bit more difficult than being a junior player. It is more of tactics at this level and in every match, you have to strategise for each game; this happened to me in the preliminary round when I was playing against Leonardo Mutti. I led 2-0 but he caught up with me at 2-2. It goes to show that he must have changed something; this is what I am learning at this level. Manav Vikash Thakkar
Undoubtedly, for Manav Vikash Thakkar, playing in the main hall will be forever cherished.
“I was a bit nervous when I played in the main hall but I really enjoyed every moment of the match because I was playing in front of the large crowd with colourful lighting,” he added.
A quarter-finalist at the 2018 World Junior Championships believes training in Saarbrucken, Germany and Copenhagen in Denmark, helped to prepare him for the Budapest challenge.
“I am happy with my performance in my first World Championships. I had only spent six months with the Indian senior team and I had featured in several top class tournaments. We had camps in Germany and Denmark and this really helped me to do well in Budapest. It was a good experience playing against Robert Gardos in the main draw, for me I think this is indeed a learning curve. I will continue to work hard.” Manav Vikash Thakkar
Step by step, Manav Vikash Thakkar is adjusting to life in the world’s major tournaments.
“My first experience with the Indian team was at the Asian Games. Although I did not play I was with the team when we won the bronze medal. The event really opened my eyes to what lies ahead of me, as I become part of a great Indian team. Budapest has given me motivation to work harder because I have come across players with different styles of play. It is an experience that will again fire me up in my training. Now I know I need to be at my best if I hope to make a name for myself in the sport.” Manav Vikash Thakkar
Impressed with the setting in Budapest, it has been an eye opening venture to Hungary’s capital city.
“My coming to Budapest has been a good experience because I have never played in such an atmosphere. The second hall where I played most of my matches was closer to the training hall and there was no similarity between the two halls and this for was a good experience. I enjoyed myself and I hope to be back at this stage again.” Manav Vikash Thakkar