Sunday 24 March 2013

Europe's Top Olympic Qualifier Sets Scope on Paris

The successive winner of the European Olympic Qualification tournament and strong member of the Portugese National team which goes from strength to strength every year, I had the chance to interview Joao Monteiro about his career, the Portugese team and the German League. Thanks Joao and best of luck in Paris!

Name: Joao Monteiro
Date of Birth: 29/08/1983
Nation Represented: Portugal
Highest World Ranking: 35

Portugal's Joao Monteiro
Image Courtesy of the ITTF

Blade: BTY Michael Maze OFF
FH Rubber: Tenergy 05
BH Rubber: Tenergy 64

When did you start table tennis and how did you start playing? 
My first coach, Filipe Amaral went in primary school where I was and made some physical tests to all the children from the school and he chose the best 20 and I was among one of that 20. I started to play at 9 years old in the club Grupo Recreativo de Tercena.

What would you say your greatest achievement in your career so far is? 
5th in London Olympic teams, 2 times quarter finals in singles in European Championships (2008 and 2012), Swiss open winner (2010), 3rd in team in European Championships (2011), 3rd Slovenia Open in singles (2008), 2 times Olympic games representative (Beijing and London), 3rd in Brasil Open singles (2006), 1st in Brasil Open in doubles (2011).

In the European Olympic Qualfication Tournament you won 6/6 matches to qualify, an awesome effort. How did it feel to qualify for the olympic games? 
Is always nice and good when you win a competition without losing one single game and being an Olympic Qualification, happiness is even bigger.

The Portugese team in London reached the quarterfinals, losing narrowly 3-2 to Korea. What does this mean for Portugal?
The team now is very strong, can we expect to see more results like this in the future? We always work hard every day to become better and better so when are coming the big competitions we can fight against the best teams in the world and right now we are in the top also.

The Portugese Men's Team - Apolonia, Freitas, Monteiro

You have been part of the success of Saarbruken in the DTTL and the ECL, do you think the German league is a strong contributor to your level of competitiveness?
Yes, the german league is one of the best in Europe with lot of world class players and is good for me to play against them and grow up my table tennis level.

You have now been based at the Werner Schlager Academy training for some time. Tell us more about the academy and your training regime. Do you feel you have made big improvements since moving to WSA? 
I like to practice in WSA Academy, has very good infrastructures, with world class coaches and very good sparring partners and the spirit between the players is very nice and healthy so I am happy so far to be practising there. Besides, Vienna is a nice city and is very good to have a place where you can relax and feel good, out from table tennis.

Do you believe that the WSA is going to be the centre for Europe's development in the future? 
I don’t know that, but for sure is one of the best european table tennis centers.

What are your goals for the future? Would you like to aim for Rio 2016? 
I always give my best in each competition and of course playing the Olympic games in Rio is one goal for me but for the long run. For shorter time I want to play well in World Championships in May and in October to make better than quarter finals in singles and doubles and to make better than 3rd place in teams.

Off Topic Questions:
Favourite Food: Italian
Favourite Car: Audi RS5
Favourite Holiday Destination: anywhere with my girlfriend
Favourite Movie: Gladiator

Do you have one last tip for players who are aiming to become professional international players? Give always the best in each practice you make and believe in yourselves and in your work. Sooner or later the work will pay off and most important of all, enjoy and have fun playing table tennis.

Monteiro at the Swiss Open. Nice shot!

Thanks so much for your time Joao :)

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