At a recent visit to Maberzell, Borussia Düsseldorf legend Timo Boll took some time to answer some questions for German newspaper Fuldaer Zeitung. Below is a summary including his preparations for the Tokyo Olympics and family life during the pandemic.
Dreams for the Future
Timo was asked if he still has dreams now that he is 39 years old and nearly a veteren. As you would expect with Timo he says, “Ambition is definitely there.” He continued, “However, every day is no longer the same as the next. Sometimes I’m just the same and full of energy. Then there are days when I wake up and it pinches all over the place.” Thinking forward to the upcoming Olympics, Timo’s sights are still very much fixed on the top. “I am currently in a very good phase. I feel like I can definitely fight for medals at the Tokyo Olympics.”
Coronavirus restrictions have changed preparations and training dramatically for many athletes across the globe. Timo however, seems to have been unaffected. “For me as an older player, it is not so problematic not to fly around the world to play in international tournaments. So I have my routine and do not need to constantly change time zones and temperatures. That’s good for me.” Could this give him the German superstar an edge over some of his opponents in more difficult circumstances.
Life at Home
The lockdowns and restrictions have meant that international table tennis was on hold for an extended amount of time. This meant Timo has spent more time at home than ever. Usually, there are tournaments every couple of weeks all over the world. Grateful for the time he has been able to spend with his daughter he explains, “Our Champions League bubble in Düsseldorf – that was nine or ten days – felt like forever. Otherwise that was the standard. I was on the road for one to three weeks at a time and had the suitcases brought to the airport to have fresh laundry again. Now I get something from my daughter’s childhood. That’s why I don’t want to complain too much.”
Timo’s daughter Zoey is 7 years old and has been homeschooled by Timo during the pandemic.
“...sport makes me a perfectionist. I sometimes find myself having high expectations of her after all. I really have to pull myself out at times.” Would he make a good teacher? Timo isn’t so sure. “I would have to re-educate myself a bit. As a competitive athlete, I am very meticulous and almost obsessed with details. You can’t be in elementary school. If the E or O is not so nicely curved, you have to look over it without having a fit. This meticulousness made me so good as an athlete and is perhaps a weakness as a teacher.”
Timo is a very calm player. We have seen he is very good mentally in table tennis. He is not seen to go mad during matches. Is there anything that makes him mad? Apparently his young puppy can rile him up a little. “We have just had a young puppy again. It’s ten weeks old and full of energy. If he bites a table or chair leg for the 25th time, I really have to keep my composure. It tingles inside me.”
Moving on to the important matters. Timo’s hair is always on point. When the world’s hairdressers are closed, how does Timo always have a fresh trim?
“I am very lucky that my wife is a trained hairdresser. She hasn’t worked for 15 years, but she hasn’t forgotten how to do it. So I’m happy to have the cut now without doing something that is forbidden (due to covid restrictions).”
Fame and Reality TV
Timo is a well known sports star in Germany making him somewhat of a celebrity. Would he consider doing a reality show such as Let’s Dance or the ultra-hard sports show Eternal Heroes? “The Eternal Heroes was partly a very funny show with a couple of very good challenges. The other is just too extreme. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not the type of person who wants to be the center of attention. And that’s what these shows are made for.”
Life After Table Tennis
Finally the interview touched on a question many fans are desperate to know. At 39 year old, Timo is nearing the end of his highly successful career. Is he having thoughts of what his next move will be?
“Of course, you make a few thoughts. In my head I’m still too much an athlete and table tennis player. I still enjoy it too much. The thought of it hurts me. I am grateful that things are still going so well at this high level. I will try to drag out the end of my career as long as possible. There will probably never be anything more that I can do so well and that I enjoy so much. I’ll probably have to be dragged off the record at some point.”
It seems we can expect a lot more from Timo in the near future. How long can he stay at the top of world table tennis? Tell us in the comments...