by Ian Marshall, Editor
Listed at no.103 on the current men’s world rankings, he beat Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia, named at no.43 (11-8, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8, 4-11, 11-4), followed by Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu listed at no. 50 (13-11, 6-11, 12-10, 11-2, 1-11, 11-7); now whatever the global status of those players may read, they are fine wins.
In 2010 Tiago Apolonia won the men’s singles title at the Austrian Open, last September Ovidiu Ionescu was the runner up at the Liebherr 2018 European Championships; also they are both on a high having secured respective men’s doubles bronze and silver medals at the recent Liebherr 2019 World Championships.
It is mission accomplished; reaching the main draw was surely the target for Truls Moregard; in the opening round he faces China’s Liang Jingkun, the no.3 seed. Now, it is a daunting task but let’s turn things on its head, it’s a big opportunity to prove himself; go out there and mix it with the best, follow in the footsteps of his Swedish ancestors, which started in earnest in 1954 with Tage Flisberg.
He was the first Swede to reach a men’s singles final at a World Championships. He started to play with a pimple rubber racket and won international open tournaments but after securing a job with the Stiga company he did not attend the 1951 and 1952 World Championships. However, in 1953 he was present in Bucharest, he watched Yugoslavia’s Zarko Dolinar play using a sponge covered racket. Good idea, thought Tage Flisberg, he tried the sponge racket and the following year in London reached the men’s singles final at the World Championships losing to the speed of Japan’s Ichiro Ogimura.
The standard was set, in the late 1950s and into the 1960s came Hans Alser, Kjell Johansson and Carl-Johan Bernhardt; then in 1971 Stellan Bengtsson became World champion. In the same era there was Ulf Thorsell and Roger Lagerfelt, followed by Erik Lindh, Mikael Appelgren and Ulf Bengtsson. Could it possible become any better? The answer was in the affirmative, a certain Jan-Ove Waldner arrived on the scene, then Jörgen Persson, Peter Karlsson and Thomas von Scheele.
Gold medals won at Olympic Games, World Championships, European Championships, most significantly Jan-Ove Waldner and Jörgen Persson but note, as with all successful Swedes, they were members of a very strong group of players. Now after a lull in fortunes are we seeing a modern day strong Swedish group emerge?
Mattias Falck, his efforts at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships now folklore and Jon Persson, alongside Truls Moregard appear in the first round men’s singles draw in Hong Kong; Kristian Karlsson and Anton Källberg just fell short but my word they came close. Anton Källberg lost to Japan’s Maharu Yoshimura in six games (11-9, 11-8, 10-12, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9), by the narrowest of margins Kristian Karlsson suffered against China’s Ma Te (11-6, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8, 12-14, 8-11, 11-9).
Now turn the clock back just over two weeks, Anton Källberg beat Kristian Karlsson in the men’s singles final in Zagreb at the Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge Croatia Open; a very strong group Swedish group has emerged.
Could this be the best possible situation for Truls Moregard?
Sweden has a great tradition but on the other side of the coin don’t lumber this young man with phrases like “the next Waldner”; nobody could play like Jan-Ove Waldner, just as nobody could box like Muhammed Ali, play golf like Severiano Ballesteros of bowl a cricket ball like Shane Warne.
Truls Moregard is an exciting young player, he is not the next anybody, he is very much a major player in a high class group, one that promises a successful era for Sweden, a return to the good old days.