by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
On Thursday 7th May and he told the TTBL website that playing table tennis without spectators would be a very strange experience.
Report featured on TTBL
How are you and your family?
My family and myself are good and safe.
The world of professional sport seems to be on hold right now. Do you maybe even appreciate the forced break since you are a father now?
It’s a really tough situation in the world right now but one positive thing for me is that I can be home with my wife and my six months old daughter. So I’m happy to be home to see her grow.
The corona pandemic is not only affecting the sport context but overall society. In Germany we observe how Sweden is handling the crisis. What are your thoughts about the situation in your home country?
We will have to wait and see which way was the best to handle this virus. There is both positive and negative with the way Sweden handles this.
It seems very unfortunate for SV Werder Bremen that the play-offs are postponed since the club has qualified for the first time again since 2013. How would you feel if the season would indeed be cancelled early?
Of course it would be a pity for the club and me and the players if the season would be cancelled. We made a strong season and we’re looking forward to the play-offs but we will have to wait and see what happens with COVID-19 in the upcoming days and weeks.
However, hopes are still up that we will be able to finish the season. Bremen would encounter 1. FC Saarbrücken TT in the semi-final of the play-offs, the season’s history shows two wins against Saarbrücken. How do you perceive your chances to enter the finals?
It will be really tough, they have a very strong team but we performed very well against them in the two matches in the main round. But I would still say they are the favourites, even though it’s close. But if we can play at our best we have a good chance.
There is a debate about playing table tennis without any spectators. In your opinion, how would an empty arena affect the matches and the players?
It would be strange to play without spectators but I think that’s the only way as it seems right now. It would definitely be a new experience.
You went from difficulties in the beginning to a 23-10 balance sheet representing one of the league’s best players. What is your personal résumé of the season so far?
I had a tough start and I have a lot to learn, the league is really, really strong. You need to be prepared 100 percent for each match. But it’s always hard when you change the league, come to a new club and of course you want to show yourself from your best side. But I got an amazing support from the club even though I started quite bad. But afterwards I played better and I’m happy to finish the season with a good score.
You extended your contract until 2022. It seems as if you enjoy your time in Bremen. What were your personal reasons for deciding for Bremen again?
Yes I do, it’s a great club and I’m very happy to extend my contract until 2022. I like everyone in the club and I feel like home there. We have a good team spirit and the club wants to fight for reaching the play-offs and being a top team.
Finally one question regarding the national squad: After a few difficult years, the Swedish table tennis team currently seems to be advancing. Which goals is the team able to conquer in the upcoming years?
We will do our best to defend our bronze medal in the world team championships and we will fight hard to secure a medal in the Olympic Games 2021!