Monday, 2 April 2012

Post-WTTC Interview with England's Liam Pitchford

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.

Matt Hetherington

 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?



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



Matt Hetherington 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.



Liam Pitchford 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.



Matt HetheringtonIs 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.


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


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


Liam Pitchford

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.


Matt HetheringtonHow 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.


Liam PitchfordOverall 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.


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



Liam PitchfordYeah 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.


Matt Hetherington

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



Liam PitchfordYea 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.


Matt Hetherington

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.


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


Matt HetheringtonHe 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.


Liam PitchfordNo 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.


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



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


Matt Hetherington

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?


Liam PitchfordIt'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.


Matt Hetherington

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?


Liam PitchfordYea 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.


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


Liam Pitchford
Yeah I've got it on




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


Liam Pitchford

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


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


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



Matt Hetherington

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


Liam Pitchford

No chance now.



Matt Hetherington

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.

Liam Pitchford

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


Matt Hetherington

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

Liam Pitchford

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


Matt Hetherington

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



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


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



Liam PitchfordI 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.


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


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


Matt HetheringtonTrue 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?



Liam PitchfordIt 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.


Matt HetheringtonPerhaps 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.

Liam Pitchford

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


Matt HetheringtonWhat 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.



Liam PitchfordI 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.


Matt Hetherington
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?



Liam PitchfordYeah 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.

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


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


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



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



Matt Hetherington
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?


Liam PitchfordYeah 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.


Matt Hetherington

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

Liam Pitchford


Thank you.

1 comment:

  1. Nice interview with the right questions
    Barry Meisel

    ReplyDelete