- You beat Lin Yun-Ju (TPE), one of the favorites in the tournament, in the third round of the men’s singles event. How did you prepare for the match?
I had expected powerful strokes would be effective against Lin Yun-Ju and I think it was correct to a certain extent. There were some occasions when I could not execute powerful strokes against his fierce Chiquita, but I could win points in many cases when I could attack powerfully.
I had to be brave enough to counterattack; his stroke was consistent but not as powerful as European players, but I would never say he lacks power.
Also in rallies, I was able to play as well as he did, he is good in rallies, I tried to play without losing balance.
It was a close match until the end, so I could not think about anything else; my body expressed my delight unconsciously at the winning moment. At the same time, I became actually aware that a world’s top player does not yield a match easily.
- You lost against Moregard (SWE) in the following match though you had established a lead 3-0. How do you feel about the match?
I was in a good shape, and I did not lose my concentration. I did not think I would lose the match even when I lost several unexpected points by the receives he had not previously used. Taking risks when attacking, he turned defiant after I led 3-0. I lost the fourth and then two more games. The tide of the match turned; the rhythm of the match became different to what I had anticipated.
I did not care about his tricky plays until the fourth game, but he has good services and I lost three to four points per game by his unexpected tactics; that might have been the point to decide the result in the end.
However, I am not saying this because I lost the match, but I would like to mention one thing. I think he was strong enough to make it to the final and he is deserved it, but there were many of his actions that I could not condone, I would like him to refrain from actions such as throwing his racket on the opponent’s court. This is a problem we all have to think of in order table tennis continues to be a gentlemanly sport.
- You played against the Japanese pair Yukiya Uda and Shunsuke Togami in the semi-final of the men’s doubles, against whom you had lost in the final at the Asian Table Tennis How did you prepare for the match?
At the Asian Championships, the Japanese pair seized the initiative as they were in good shape; my partner Jang Woojin and myself could not make the movements we are good at. I think we had some chances, but we were not able to turn the tide.
At the World Championships, we could take advantage of the opportunity to make points and dominate the match by making the best use of the previous loss.
- You played against a Swedish duo in the final. How did you prepare for the match?
I thought there would be more chances to win against them than the Chinese pairs we had expected to play in the final, to be honest, but I was never too confident because they had won against two Chinese pairs to proceed to the final.
I think one of the main reasons for our loss was that Kristian Karlsson was in a very good shape. It was not because we faced a Swedish pair, we decided the best strategy to start rallies was with short pushes not to let them have opportunities to attack. With that strategy, I thought we could seize chances to attack, but their defence was very good. They dealt with our attacks many times with blocking and counter-attacking play, which was not what we had expected. I think we were confident in short push against short push rallies, but they were better.
- Please let us know what you gained and the tasks you found at the World Championships.
One of the biggest accomplishments I gained was the confidence in myself that I can succeed at world-class events. Timo Boll (GER) got injured, so I of course wanted to play a match against Fan Zhendong if I had won against Moregard. I am satisfied with the result although I regret I could have done better in the singles and doubles events.
The racket and rubbers I am using at the moment fit me perfectly and I could play how I had imagined; this was also one of the benefits.
For the challenges, I think the table tennis of today requires technique of a very high level. You cannot become the world’s top player without having every single technique at high level. You can win to a certain extent with a few specialties but only so far. You have to acquire all the techniques these days. Watching the play of Fan Zhendong, I thought I would have to practise long services in particular.
For the mental side, I would like to become able to play much more calmly in whatever the situation.
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