Interview with Timo Boll
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Congratulations on three successfully defended titles in St. Petersburg. A historical triumph no other player has accomplished before. Did you have time to celebrate, or were you swamped after your return as the old and new European champion?
Boll: There was only short time to celebrate. In St. Petersburg, the finals took place in the evening. Afterwards, I had two glasses of beer and a smoked rib. Two hours later I was on my way to the airport. There was not much time to celebrate, instead a lot of stress. When I got back home there were a lot of requests. One of them was from Stefan Raab's TV show. But I will find some time for myself too - hopefully!
Remarkably you were able to beat Werner Schlager and Vladimir Samsonov quite clearly. You defeated both of your Butterfly colleagues in the semi-finals and the finals, respectively, although they had won against you in the team competition just as easily. What had changed during the course of five days, until you met again for the second time - the strategy or your daily condition?
Boll: Both. During the tournament I evolved a better feel for my return stroke. Each of them has extremely good serves, and at this level returning a serve is of the utmost importance, if not match deciding. Overall I have increased my efficiency during the course of the whole tournament.
Just like in your run for the finals at the World Cup in Li?ge, including the victorious match against Ma Long, it seemed that your play in St. Petersburg was even more controlled than it had been before. Was it coincidence, or were those the positive effects of your material change after the ban of speed gluing?
Boll: Indeed, those are the effects of changing the material. Since the Olympic Games I have worked on it. My passive play benefits from the slightly slower rubbers. In addition to that I'm lucky to have an excellent and reliable outfitter in Butterfly who has been steadily supplying me with outstanding material.
What kind of material have you been playing since the speed glue ban?
Boll: I use Tenergy 05 with 2.1 mm sponge. My blade is from the new Timo Boll Blade Series ALC, available in stores in December. ALC stands for Arylate-Carbon. Overall, the blade possesses a similar character like Timo Boll Spirit, which I played before. As you can see, I'm handling my material really well.
The European Championships gave the impression that a large part of the athletes unfortunately did not stick to the new rules, using undetectable tuners and boosters during the racket test. What do you think of this trend which obviously disregards fairness and equal conditions?
Boll: In my opinion, you have to have a proper control mechanism before establishing these kinds of rules. The world organisation ITTF has shot itself in the foot. It provides a disadvantage for every athlete that abides by the new rules. I, on the other hand, am very fortunate to have a supplier with excellent material. I'm very happy with my new rubbers. I would never use tuners or boosters. That would not be fair. But I hope that soon they will find ways to detect them. I suggest keeping the rubbers after the matches and controlling them in a lab. If they test positively and prove the use of suspicious treatment, there should be hard penalties for those players.
Can you give the German fans a hint as to when and where we will see the new and old European champion Timo Boll in Germany next?
Boll: As usual I will appear in the German Table Tennis League, as well as the Champions League with Borussia D?sseldorf, of course. Also, I will play in the German Open in Berlin from November 19th to November 23rd.
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