Tuesday 6 October 2015

The World's Best Modern Defence: Interview with Joo Sae Hyuk

I had the pleasure of meeting the world's best modern defender on a bus in Chengdu on the way back to the player hotel. I had a nice talk with him and organised an interview, it's great for him to get back to me and here it is below! :)

Name: Joo Sae Hyuk
Date of Birth: 1980 01 20
Country Represented: Korea
Highest World Ranking: 5

Joo Sae Hyuk, The World's leading Modern Defender
Equipment Used:
FH Rubber: tenergy05
BH Rubber: curl-p1R
Blade:   joosaehyuk

When and how did you start playing table tennis? Who was the biggest influence on you to begin playing?
I started ping pong when I was in 2nd grade because my parents told me to do so. I also did not like to study.
What was it that made you want to learn the defensive style and become a chopper?
I was a penholder at first for the first 6 months, but my coach told me to change to a chopper.  He believed that I would play better as a chopper due to my calmness.

What kind of things make it difficult to compete at international level as a defensive player? Do you feel like it is a more difficult style to win with?
 Since I was young, I tried to become an aggressive chopper, and practiced a lot how to make points as a chopper. It would be hard to win a tournament, but Yes, I definitely believe that it is still possible to win if you can put pressure on your opponent, and lead the game.

In 2003 you had an outstanding World Championships and made the final against Werner Schlager. What did that mean for you? Do you think this was your best playing level at this time?
The final round at 2003 WTTC was the best tournament for me. I became pretty popular after the tournament and I developed a lot since then.

Do you think choosing the right equipment is very important for a player who learns to chop?
Of course it is important everybody needs different feelings and characteristics.

If you could go back and change things in your career, what could you have done to break higher into the top 5 players in the world?
I don't know. It isn't that easy. If I really need something? Maybe youth again.

Many players now begin to favour short pimple rubber for disguising spin variation, what is your opinion on long and short pimples and which do you feel is better?
In my opinion, since the ball has been changed, short pips are better because you may put more variation with it. Of course controlling with short pips is difficult.

Your forehand is as formidable as any attacking player among the best in the world, how hard is it to balance defence and finding the right time to attack?
First of all, you need to be quick. You also need to analyze your opponent well.  Then you can get a chance to attack

Who would you say has been your biggest rival over the span of your career?   
Ryu Seung Min, Oh Sang Eun.  We have been growing up together and competing each other since young.

What is the biggest thing which Korea can improve in order to become more competitive with China?  
Money and motivation.

Joo Sae Hyuk in the Chinese Super League

Now, like me, you also have some autoimmune problems. What impact has that had on your ability to train and play matches?      
My personality, such as patience, passion, and a strong desire for winning, made me to overcome all those hard trainings and difficult times

What are some specialist tips you can offer on making heavy spin chop for defensive players out there?
You need to have your own stroke/swings.

What other goals do you have for the rest of your career now?
I want to get a medal at Rio 2016 Olympics. I still want to play my best, and show great performance to audience until I retire my career.

Fun Questions

What is your favourite:
Sport Other than Table Tennis: Soccer

Sportsperson: Ronaldo, because he performs good deeds all his life

Movie: As one (a move named "Korea" in Korean)

Food: I am not a picky eater. I basically eat anything

Car: Bentley, Maserati

Holiday Destination: family trip (either domestic or international travel)

If you could restart your table tennis career what style would you choose? Penhold/Shakehand, Left/Right hand, Attacker/Defender, Pips etc.  
shakehand, aggressive attacker

If you won $1million tomorrow what would you do?    
Investment in stocks

Thank you! :)

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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