Sunday 3 March 2013

Undying Passion for World Champion Academy Master

I had the absolute pleasure of having the opportunity to interview my all-time favourite player. Werner Schlager the 2003 World Champion, also the only European player to achieve this title in the last decade. I admire so much about Werner, including his staunch commitment to his family and passing his knowledge on through the Werner Schlager Academy in Schwechat, Austria. Thank you so much for doing this interview Werner :)

Name: Werner Schlager
Date of Birth: 28/09/1972
Nation Represented: Austria
Highest World Ranking: 1

Werner Schlager wins the 2003 WTTC
Image Courtesy of ITTF

FH Rubber: BTY Tenergy 05 max. black
BH Rubber: BTY Tenergy 05 max. red
Blade: BTY Schlager Carbon

How long have you been playing table tennis? Who or what influenced you to start playing?
In 1978 I went with my father to a local TT club. Since then I play table tennis on a regular basis.

Obviously in 2003 you had the moment of a lifetime, you won the WTTC in Bercy. How did that feel? Prior to the tournament did you think you had the chance to end up succeeding as the World Champion?
It's impossible to describe that feeling. It came close to the feeling I had when my girlfriend Bettina gave birth to my son Nick. Yes, I did know that I had the potential to win.

Is there any other moment in your table tennis career that compares with your win of that competition?
Winning the European Championships title in doubles in 2005 came close.

In 2011 you opene the Werner Schlager Academy, perhaps Europe's finest training facility. Can you tell us a bit more about what motivated you to do this?
In short, the WSA is a training centre of excellence, one of four ITTF hotspot TT training facilities in the Category A worldwide. Everybody who wants to improve their level of TT is warmly welcome. So far we had guests from over 50 countries, from national team level to hobby players.
Motivation for me was to let others benefit from my experience and the knowledge of my employees.

Chen Weixing and Ma Lin train prior to the 2012 WTTC
at the Werner Schlager Academy.

What was the effect on your own personal table tennis career of opening the academy? Alongside the academy you also gave time for your family, did this also effect your table tennis career?
I had to reduce my training pensum and my participation at international events. My family did grow twice too, which leaves even less time for my TT career.

What are your goals for table tennis now? Are there still things you wish to achieve while you are still competing?
My goal was and is to always play as good as possible.

What are your future plans for the Werner Schlager Academy?
In the third year of our existence we would like to continue growing, which is needed for securing financial independence.

During your career we have seen you execute some amazing techniques, service, backhand drive shots, drop shots etc. How important do you think innovation and creativity are in becoming a successful table tennis player?
Innovation or creativity without safety is worth nothing. The important point is allow an individual amount of creativity based on necessary minimum safety.

Do you have a favourite training drill which you like to practice a lot? If so, why this one?
Middle, corner, middle corner. A perfect exercise for me to check my safety and quality.

Off Topic Questions
Favourite Food: Almost everything, as biological as possible
Favourite Car: Telsa Model S
Favourite Holiday Destination: Home
Other hobbies aside from table tennis: Computer, Physics, Nutrition

The WTTC 2003 final. Werner Schlager vs. Joo Se Hyuk

Again thank you so much for doing this Werner!
u r welcome ;)

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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