The table tennis stars of Germany and Austria are heading into the World Championships with ambitious goals
Did the World Championship preparations of the German and Austrian table tennis stars go according to plan? What challenges do they see ahead and what goals have they set for themselves? Local competitor Timo Boll, German female prospect Petrissa Solja, German men's national trainer Jörg Roßkopf and Austrian player Stefan Fegerl give answers to these questions.
I am in a good state of mind. Staying uninjured is always important to me. But I can tell how much the tension levels have risen by the fact that I get annoyed about even the smallest mistakes in training. Overall, I am satisfied with my preparation because I have been working well over the recent weeks and months and have also done well in competition. Nevertheless, I'm not taking the World Championships for granted. If I can build up a bit of momentum, the quarter-final is a realistic target. However, I've got a better chance of winning a medal in the doubles because our level is higher than our seeding suggests. I am going into the tournament with a relaxed attitude. I see the home advantage as an opportunity and not as a burden. People are probably not really expecting me to win any more World Championships. But I do of course have high expectations of myself. I still have a lot of confidence and do not see myself as an outsider. I will definitely be trying to achieve another great result.
I am hoping to see the next German World Champion in Düsseldorf, to follow on from Steffen Fetzner and myself 28 years ago. We have good chances to win - whether it be in the singles, doubles or mixed competitions. As a trainer, I would like to help a player to become World Champion. I am hoping that one of our doubles pairs will make it to the top of the podium. Whether it is a German doubles team or a combined doubles team doesn't matter to me. I just want to see the German flag finally raised again. Maybe it will be easier than it would be in a different country thanks to the home advantage. In the singles, our two top-10 players are seeded for the quarter-finals. Timo Boll and Dimitrij Ovtcharov know that they have a good chance of a medal.
I'm feeling good and I'm in good form. My aims are quite clear - to play for a medal in all three competitions. I'm seeded for the top 16 in the singles, while in the doubles Sabine Winter and myself are playing really well together and could spring a surprise. But I will certainly have the best chance in the mixed competition together with my Chinese partner Fang Bo. I am expecting communication to be the biggest obstacle, but I'm sure we will get it sorted out. I have already heard that Fang Bo does speak a bit of English. But when we are playing around the table, we can of course communicate without words anyway. In general, I am looking forward to the crowd. A big crowd gives me extra motivation.
I am really looking forward to the World Championships in Düsseldorf, especially because I have been playing for Borussia Düsseldorf since the start of the season. For me, the change was a very important step in continuing to improve myself. And I think I have done that this year. I am not setting any specific targets for myself. I will just try to make the best of everything. By adopting this attitude I have always lived up to my seeding in previous World Championships. Maybe I'll even be able to make it into the final 16 players in Düsseldorf. As European Champions, Joao Monteiro and myself will certainly also have a good chance to make it into the last eight of the doubles. Apart from that, we also have a strong player in the ladies' competition in the form of Liu Jia. She will certainly have ambitions of making the last sixteen or even the quarter-finals. And our previous European Doubles Champions Robert Gardos and Daniel Habesohn will also be in the running for the medals.