Andrew Baggaley Interview - Professional Player (World Rank 139)

TableTennisDaily exclusive interview with professional! (Hours to make, seconds to comment :)

Full Name: Andrew Baggaley

Age: 28

Date of Birth: 26th February 1983

Height: 5’11”


Club: Nice CPC (French National League – Pro A)

Highest World Ranking: No.139

Highest England Ranking: No.1

Equipment: Stiga (Sweden)

You Tube Channel:

Your career

How long have you been playing Table Tennis and when did you start?
“I started playing Table Tennis at the age of 4 on an old Table Tennis table in the back garden of our family home with my mother, Yvonne. My first competitive match was at the age of 7 in the Milton Keynes Table Tennis League, therefore I have been playing competitive Table Tennis for over 20 years!”

Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
“The biggest individual influence on my career is undoubtedly my brother Stephen who has coached me technically from a total beginner through to my current international level in the sport. Stephen alongside strong family support combined with a trusted team of individuals and sponsors have ensured I have continued to make big strides forward on the National and International scene.”

BollForte94 from Table Tennis Daily wants to know what you do you practice the most. Do you have a certain training regime each week or does it alter?
“Aspiring and established players must practise all areas of the game and try to improve all technical aspects to ensure they can continually develop as a player. Training does alter from week to week depending on your match/tournament schedule but clearly in the off season you will train physically much harder and put in more time on the practice table.”

Do you practise serves often?
“I personally tend to practise serves regularly (most days) but for short periods of time. I believe serving is quite a personal aspect of the sport and think what works for one player will not necessarily be ideal for another!”

You are a very successful international star now, what do you feel was your biggest achievement to date?
“Quite clearly the most satisfying achievement to date is winning 5 Commonwealth Games Medals (2 Gold Medals, 2 Silver Medals & 1 Bronze Medal) and becoming Britain’s leading Table Tennis Medal winner of all time at the Commonwealth Games.”

OK, maybe you don’t like looking back to this but what was your biggest low in your career?
“I genuinely have not experienced a major low point in my career! I am always disappointed to lose any match I play but try to turn defeat into a positive and therefore try to learn from all experiences.”

Are you looking forward to the London 2012 Olympics?
“Yes! It’s the pinnacle of all sportsmen’s careers and to represent their country at the biggest sporting event in the world on home soil. It is a once in a life time opportunity!”

Teriphik – Hi, I would like to know if the material (rubbers and blades) of professional players is the same material as we (non-professional) buy in Table Tennis shops?
“Good question! I do believe professional European players play with the same rubbers as non- professional players but I feel the Chinese National Team players have rubbers specially made to suit their styles and exactly the same rubber is not on the open market.”

Do you use booster to enhance your rubber?
“No, as all forms of ‘boosting’ the rubber is banned by the ITTF.”

Lesliefrancs – Hi, is pursuing a life towards Table Tennis worth the rewards? Does playing Table Tennis full time affect your personal life?
“If you LOVE the sport then YES pursuing a life towards Table Tennis is very much worth the rewards! Of course it can affect your personal life but if you can find the right balance and have a life away from Table Tennis then you can certainly live a very full and rewarding lifestyle whilst playing professionally.”

Do you run every day?
“Personally I don’t run every day but do run very often. Again what works for one player may not be suitable for another but running is essential training for Table Tennis.”

GecaPhoenix – What’s your view on the Chinese dominance at the moment. Why do you believe they are so good?
“In my opinion it’s definitely not a healthy situation when any sport is dominated by one country for long periods of time but China deserves its success at Table Tennis! They have the best ‘practising’ clubs in the world with the standard of coaching on an entirely different level to any other country in the world. Most of their current crop of international stars have been training from a very early age in the same way as a Russian gymnast may train from 5 or 6 years of age. Unless there is a change in culture to practising very hard from a very young age in large world class practice groups, then it’s not possible to compete as a nation. I do however, strongly believe that individuals CAN compete with the Chinese and that has been proved on occasions in all generations.”

Leankints wants to know do you train on the mental aspects of the game. Do you find this side of the game is just as important as the technical parts?
“The mental aspects of the sport are equally important as the technical side particularly when the playing levels are similar. I believe I am particularly strong in this department and have a genuine self-belief that if the scores are close, whoever the opponent, I have a great chance to win! This is by no means arrogant as I tend to play better at the end of matches and have an incredible record when matches are close!”

DaveCochrane – Hi, I would like to know what you want to do when you’re playing days are over, will you stay working in Table Tennis such as coaching etc.
“That’s a difficult question, but I would definitely have something to offer our sport. I also have a love for music and play in a band. Hopefully, at some point I’ll have more time to dedicate to this field or something that I can be equally passionate about.”

Forestloves – Hum would you rather win the World Championships or win silver in the Olympic Games?
“World Champion, but a Silver Medal at the Olympic Games would be amazing too!”

Topgunwow – Hi, are you happy about the speed glue ban, has it had an effect on your game?
“Initially it did effect my game as I had used speed glue all of my life and it was difficult to adapt quickly. This certainly favoured very young players who had not used glue at all! I also personally enjoyed playing with glue but am totally satisfied this was the correct decision due to the health risks.”

You have had a lot of recent big wins and you have been playing at such a high level, what do you think has caused this?
“I have had a number of big name victories recently including Jean-Michel Saive (Former World No1), Gao Ning (Asian Cup Champion) and Christophe Legout (French National Champion) but this is the first real opportunity I have had to compete with this level of player on a regular basis. Playing in the French National League Pro A and regularly competing on the ITTF Pro Tour has taken my game to a new level.”



There are a lot of debates as to why you haven’t been picked over the years to play for England as you are 3 times National Champion! Congratulations! Why is it you have only just recently been selected for the National Team?
“That’s a difficult question for me to answer as I have always been available to play for England and always will be available to play for England with the National Coach in my corner. It is an honour to represent England and very pleased to be regularly representing my country again.”

What is it like playing in a squad with a lot of players younger than you? Do you get under pressure, or do you enjoy being the leader of the group?
“In the previous generation I was always the youngest player in the England National team and equally enjoyed playing with/alongside players younger and older! With many top Europeans playing well into their thirties and even forties I believe age to be an irrelevance in Table Tennis as long as you are fit and injury free. Take a look at Kalinikos Kreanga from Greece winning his first major title the European Top 12 at 38! I have always been fortunate not to experience much pressure during matches and genuinely feel I have everything to gain and nothing to lose when competing. I certainly do not feel the leader of the group but part of a team that is supportive of everybody’s individual efforts.”

What do you think could improve England Table Tennis as a whole to make us catch up with the likes of Germany?
“This is a complex question but a professional British League with 8 -10 ‘practising’ clubs in its top division employing at least 1 foreign player (ideally Chinese) would have a massive impact on the playing level of English/British Table Tennis.”

What are your future ambitions in Table Tennis?
“To win a Singles medal at a major event such as the European Championships, World Championships or Olympic Games and to continue representing my country.


Who’s your favourite sportsman of all time?
“It’s too difficult to name one person but I have many different sportsmen across various different sports that in my opinion are/have been amazing athletes/competitors. It’s also important to know the story behind the athlete and see the opportunities they have received when determining who the greatest sportsman of all time actually is.”

Favourite film?
“American Pie movies.”

What’s your favourite music?
“Definitely rock but I appreciate all genres of music.”

What do you do in your spare time other than Table Tennis?
“I play guitar and sing in a band.”

Do you eat well or eat junk food?
“I am very careful that I eat healthily but of course I’m partial to the occasional visit to a fast food outlet!”

PS3 or Xbox 360?
“Most definitely the Xbox 360! As you may be aware I was the lead motion capture actor for the Table Tennis game in Kinect Sports designed by Rare for the Xbox 360.”
Check out this recent interview:
And take a look at a behind the scenes view at how it was made in this music video:


Who’s the funniest player in the training hall?
“Most of the time they are a serious group of players but certainly from this generation it’s probably Darius Knight and from the previous generation it was definitely Terry Young.”

Who trains the hardest in the training hall?
“Again I believe the England teams from all generations train exceptionally hard but that accolade must go to Alex Perry.”

Who has the best nickname?
“For some reason I found the affectionate nickname ‘Bert’ for Gareth Herbert the best!”

Thanks very much for your kindness in taking part in this interview for all the members of the Table Tennis Daily forum to learn and know more about the life of a professional player.
Would you like to add one last tip or an inspirational message to us all?
“Practise regularly, if possible get yourself high level coaching, introduce as many people as you can to our sport but quite simply keep enjoying the game!”

Good luck in your next competition.

Andrew Baggaley -