Table tennis is a popular sport in Germany. How do you explain it?
Hippler: “A sport always becomes more popular with some stars. We now have Timo Boll and Dimitrij Ovtcharov having great results. But we already had some great players before, so there is continuity. It was the same in tennis when we had Boris Becker, then everyone was playing tennis”.
In the quarter final of the Team Event you lost 0-3 against China. Are they really too strong or could you maybe have done better?
Hippler: “Well, when you play against China in our sport it is always difficult. It was certainly not the best draw for us. Of course, you always have a chance but they really play at a very high level. We lost because they are better than us”.
What are your objectives in the Individual Event now?
Hippler: “It is like the Team Event, a lot depends on your draw. If you have to play against a Chinese player in the first rounds it is difficult. If you are lucky with the draw, you maybe play Europeans or South America’s players, which is better. Last year I reached the quarter final having a good draw, without Chinese or Asian players. But you have to look round by round and then see what happens”.
Engemann: “I look round to round. The first step is to win my group. This is my first objective. After that, like Tobias said, the draw can change your ambitions. I will wait for it and hope to be lucky”.
One question for Gerrit: three years ago you were already here at Riva del Garda for the European Youth Championships (EYC). Which memories do you have? Are you happy to be back?
Engemann: “Yes, I have good memories because I won two bronze medals in my last year as a Cadet. It is a good feeling to be back here again. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the time to visit the city yet”.
The two of you are tied in the World ranking (number 40 in September). But who is better?
Hippler: “It is me (laughs). No, I am joking. This ranking shows that we are pretty much on the same level. Sometimes it depends; maybe I will play better against one player and he will play better than me against another one”.
Engemann: “I agree with Tobias. Even if we play against each other it is 50/50. Definitely, it is hard to say who is better”.
Finally, can you tell us something funny about each other?
Hippler: “Well, I can maybe say than he always sleeps when I arrive in his room, no matter at which time of the day I come to his room”.
Engemann: “He is a very focused player and he always does the very same routine in training”.