View Full Version : Post WTTC Interview with Liam Pitchford

Matt Hetherington
04-02-2012, 12:57 PM
Post-WTTC Interview with England's Liam Pitchford

Image from Derbyshire Times

As the German team geared up to face China in the Mens final of the 2012 Leibherr World Team Championships, England's Liam Pitchford was boarding a train to Ochsenhausen. I took the opportunity during his 5 hour long train trip to do a live interview, of course taking a break to live stream the finals.

Ok, so you are on the 5 hour long train trip back to Ochsenhausen already. How tiring is it playing a whole week of matches at the World Team Championships?

Oh it's exhausting, it takes everything out of you mentally and physically.

Does the hard training and playing tournaments really come close to preparing you for it? I mean a week of table tennis really something else isn't it.

Yeah, obviously it gets you prepared but you can never really get fully prepared because you never know what can happen when you get out on the table.

Is this the kind of intensity you would expect to experience at the London Olympics in terms of matches? Obviously if you were in London there are no divisions so I guess automatically it would be on a whole other level.

I don't think so. I think the Olympics will be on a whole different level! Especially being an Englishman.

Of course! What kind of chances do you think you have of making it to the Olympic Games?

Personally I think I've got a massive chance! Especially with the home nation getting 3 players for the team! I've been playing well and getting results recently so I hope I can continue that and get even better results.

How did you feel about the results of your individual matches in the WTTC? I know you find the team's 5th place finish a little disappointing. Overall weigh up your WTTC out of 10.

Overall I was quite happy, I got 3 higher ranked win. Obviously the loss to India was disappointing and losing to Kamal 3-2 was a bit annoying but I can learn from it and hopefully do better next time! I would say about 7.5.

Looking at the final tonight what do you think? Are the Germans in any kind of form to pose a threat to China?

Yeah I think they are! I think if Timo plays first and can win then that puts the Chinese under massive pressure and with Dimitrij playing well anything can happen.

What do you think of Jorg Rosskopf playing Patrick Baum in 3rd? Do you think it's the best choice for the team?

Yea I would say so! If the team is winning then he should stick with him. If he just gets dropped after losing one match I don't think it sends out a very good message.

Looking back on the WTTC is there anyone who stood out as particularly surprising? I know Thomas Keinath made two upsets against Russia, beating Smirnov and Skachkov.

Hmm, I didn't really see much of the other matches to be honest but I think Robert Floras from Poland made some surprising results.

He did beat Werner Schlager yes!
Did you manage to keep up with any results from France? I found their results a little surprising to be honest, especially considering how well Gauzy and Robinot have been playing in World Tours.

No I didn't really. I saw Robinot lost some matches which were a little bit surprising but they are still young and you can't expect them to play like world beaters every tournament.

Olympics wise how would you see Timo Boll's chances of winning a medal?

Hmm I would say it's difficult but now there are only 2 Chinese allowed to play anything is possible!

Changing the topic to Ochsenhausen, how has it been? Clearly the results are starting to show, do you have any regrets about pursuing the Bundesliga?

It's been good, slightly disappointing with the team's results but I'm happy with how my game is progressing there. Now it's one of the best leagues in the world.

I imagine you would like the opportunity to play more matches? What's it goes to take for you to be more of a permanent fixture in the matches?

Yea of course, I've played a few more recently because of Tiago's injury but it's still difficult! I just need to keep improving.

Are you going to live stream the final? It's starting now.

Yeah I've got it on

Pretty loud crowd aye. How often do you find yourself watching table tennis on a computer? Can't be very often?

Yeah. No not so often just sometimes to watch opponents or analyse my game.

What'd you make of the first set? Chance for Timo?

Yeah I think he came out being positive and that's what he needs to do.

Comeback on the cards? Zhang Jike is looking almost invincible now 2-0 up.

No chance now.

Do you think china studying and analysing Boll so much makes it too difficult for him to win? I almost rate Ovtcharov's chances more.

Yeah I suppose it does but he must study them aswell.

If you could choose a player from any era of the game to be your coach who would it be and why?

Hmm you've got to say Waldner haven't you, just because he was such a genius on the table.

Is that transferrable though? lol
Is is talent or knowledge that made him a genius? Hard to say I guess.

Both, he used to study his opponents so much so he knew what they would do when it was close and stuff.

How committed to that 'study' are you when it comes to analysing opponents?

I could probably do it alot more to be honest but I'm getting better. I studied Henzell before I played him at Worlds and was ready for the serves and that worked I guess lol.

Do you think William exposing his training on the web made him easier to analyse?

No not really because you can analyse players from any matches on the web.

True enough. What did you make of the team final? If China can beat all the best countries 3-0, how long will it take for a country to beat them?

It was a decent match but China are just that bit stronger at the moment! It's hard to say but I hope it's soon haha.

Perhaps England can have a crack at it at the Olympics? Boris Johnson would be happy, I think 'Ping pong is coming home' where his words after the last Olympics when London were announced as the host.

Yeah it would be nice to have a shot against the! Yeah he did so I hope we can have some good performances there.

What will it mean for table tennis if you perform well in London? I heard it had a huge funding cut and has ended up being the lowest funded of all the Team GB Olympic sports.

I think it will put it back on the map and hopefully get us more noticed. Yeah we had a cut but we're still doing alright.

So, European Olympic Qualification tournament in one week. Will you be rady for it? obviously a week is not a long time to recover from a World Championships?

Yeah I think I'll be ready! Yeah it's tought I've also got two Bundesliga matches this week but I'm looking forward to it.

Two matches in a week! Is that normal for Bundesliga?

No not really but it's near the end of the season and obviously with a lot of big tournaments coming up.

How many chances are there to qualify for London from the European Qualification Tournament? What's it going to take to make the cut?

I think it's 11 that qualify but I'm not sure! It's going to take some big performances to qualify!

Well judging by your performances since moving to Ochsenhausen you've demonstrated some big performances, I guess all that's left to say is good luck and go hard. Or team GB's latest catchphrase 'let's have it' or #letshaveit commonly appearing on Twitter. Where did that come from?

Yeah I hope I can produce some more! Thank alot! erm I don't know really, I guess it's just something us English say haha.

Seems to have taken off. Thanks for the interview Pitch and we will watch with interest next week.

Thank you.

04-02-2012, 01:07 PM
Aha this is awesome! Fantastic questions Matt! I liked the bit about studying your opponents. Youtube is a great way now for players to look at their opponents! :)

Matt Hetherington
04-02-2012, 01:24 PM
I quite enjoyed the format of the 'live interview' I didn't plan any of the questions I just said to him we can just 'open the conversation' and I will publish the whole thing and I just started stringing questions together for him. It was great and he's an awesome dude to talk to.

04-02-2012, 01:58 PM
Did you remember to say hello from me Matt? :D

04-02-2012, 02:11 PM
Really good interview Matt! :)

04-02-2012, 03:29 PM
Nice job, really enjoyed that!

04-02-2012, 05:38 PM
Like others say, nice interview! Had just a friendly chat feel to it.
Not 100% sure but doesn't the let's have it comment come from the Peter Kay John Smiths beers advert?

I am here: http://tapatalk.com/map.php?x2hq4v

Matt Hetherington
04-02-2012, 06:07 PM
haha the football one yes I think he just says have it! on that, sayings been around for a while, it's a hillarious advert though :)

Glad you guys liked the interview :)

04-03-2012, 08:02 AM
Great interview indeed :D Liam's chancces to play matches at Ochsenhausen went down I think, now that they signed Ryu Seung Min. It will be great for him to practise against Ryu though :)

Matt Hetherington
04-03-2012, 08:39 AM
Yea I just heard about that this morning, I wonder where Andrej Gacina is going off to. Bundesliga should be great next season, Werder Bremen of course signed Paul Drinkhall and Chuang Chih-Yuan. All the Bundesliga needs now is some Chinese players, how awesome would that be :P lower players like Fang Bo and Yan An maybe :D hehe

04-03-2012, 08:54 AM
Yea I just heard about that this morning, I wonder where Andrej Gacina is going off to. Bundesliga should be great next season, Werder Bremen of course signed Paul Drinkhall and Chuang Chih-Yuan. All the Bundesliga needs now is some Chinese players, how awesome would that be :P lower players like Fang Bo and Yan An maybe :D hehe

Yea that would be great, but they would have to move over to Germany, I don't think that's gonna happen :p

03-08-2013, 02:36 PM