Sunday 26 February 2012

Leading Germany to Europe's Pinnacle On the Table and Off

I was lucky enough to score an interview with one of the table tennis greats of Europe, Jorg Rosskopf a.k.a Rossi. I always felt Rosskopf was a player who had great success but lived in the shadow of players like Persson and Waldner and got less recognition for his achievements. Retiring in 2010 he became the National Coach of Germany and has continued his great success in that role. Thanks for the interview Rossi!

Full Name: Jörg Roßkopf

Date Of Birth: 22.5.1969

Nation represented: Germany

Highest World Ranking: 4

Equipment Used
Blade: Joola
FH Rubber: Joola Explode
BH Rubber: Joola Explode

Jorg celebrates victory over Robert Svensson in his last ever German League match
Image courtesy of ITTF 

Your Career

How long did you play table tennis for, when and how did you start?
I started when I was 5 years old and played until I was 40.

What was the highlight/best memory of your table tennis career?Winning the 1989 WTTC gold medal in mens doubles with Steffen Fetzner and winning Olympic medals in both 1992 and 1996.

You played in an era with some of the most reputable and respected players of all time (yourself included). Who was the player you enjoyed playing the most?
The best player ever is Jan-Ove Waldner and he was the most difficult to play against.

How does it feel to have the opportunity to go from being Germany's leading player of the time to now having the opportunity to be their national coach?
It is a big pleasure to work with such a strong team and I hope I can improve them a little bit more.

How do you think Germany will perform at the WTTC team event in 2012? Do they have the potential to equal or better their previous silver medal result?
That is our target to go to the final

The young French players have been making a big impression on the World Tour lately with some big wins. Patrick Franziska also shocked followers with wins over Persson, Tokic and Chuang Chih-Yuan at the recent Qatar Open, do you think Patrick will be the next prospect for the top German player?
He have the power but it is very difficult to say what he will acieve in the future, but he has the chance and a good background to became a good player.

What does Germany (and Europe) need to change in the way of training in order to compete with the Chinese National Team?
They have to work more and spend more time training and less time with breaks.

Jorg in his recent role as German National Mens Coach
Image from 

Do you think the change in your era from the 38mm ball and games to 21 to the 40mm ball and games to 11 improved the sport of table tennis?
The ball has no affect, but to change to 11 was a good idea because now there is more and earlier tension in the game.

Have you or the Germany National players had the opportunity to try the new material table tennis ball prototype expected to be released after the Olympics? If so, how do you think that will change the game?

Which European players do you think will pose a threat to the Chinese at the Olympic Games? Perhaps Ovtcharov, Skachkov etc?
Now Boll and Ovtcharov from Germany, Mizutani from Japan and Joo Se Hyuk from Korea and in the future Ovtcharov, Baum and some french players I think also.

What would you like to achieve as German National Coach while you are in that position? I.e your biggest goal.
To win against China in a final.

What is your opinion on the careers of Ma Lin and Wang Liqin? Do you think they will be in the Chinese National Team much longer?
No, I think after London Olympics they will stop and the Chinese will push the new generation of players.

Off the Topic Questions

Who’s your favourite sportsperson of all time?

Favourite food?

Dream Car?
No dream car.

Ideal holiday destination?
I love New York

First thing you would do if you won $1million?
I will change nothing, I would invest in the future of my family and friends

Your Team Mates

Who trained the hardest in the training hall?
Roßkopf, now Filus, Mengel and Franziska

Who’s was the funniest team player?
Dani Heister

Who had the best nickname?

Describe each of these players in ONE word:Jan-Ove Waldner: Gambler

Jorgen Persson: Nice Person

Zoran Primorac: Moneymaker

Jean Michel-Saive: Fighter

Timo Boll: Talent

Werner Schlager: Chess Player

Rosskopf's final DTTL match against Robert Svensson in 2010 

And Lastly
Would you like to add one last tip, or an inspirational message for other table tennis players looking to succeed?Live your dream and fight till the end

Want to read more great interviews with other former World Champions, Cup Winners and Number 1's? Click for MORE INTERVIEWS.

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