Interview with Romanian Cristian Pletea at the eve of WJTTC in Riva del Garda.
We often speak about table tennis like an Asian sport, because of their supremacy. How do you describe the gap between Asia and Europe? Is it bigger than recent years or do you think you it is getting closer? Cristian Pletea: «Asia still has the Top5 players in both women and men ranks. But Europeans now follow the Asian model. They start to train very hard, they have Chinese trainers and they do camps in Asia. I think this year is better for Europeans, like we can see by the seniors with the great results of Dimitrij Ovtcharov».
In your mind, what is the most important aspect to improve to compete at the same level with Asian Teams? «I think that European players have more talent than Asian. But we have to improve our mentality. 80% of Europeans playing against Asians already think they will lose before they start to play. They just want to play a good match and if they lose 1-4 or 2-4 then it’s ok for them. Of course training is important too. Asian players train more than us».
What are your objectives during this competition? «I hope to win a medal in the Men’s singles. I think I have good chances with the training I did last month. With the teams and doubles, I feel confident of our possibility to achieve the podium as well».
What do you love in table tennis? «One night before a match or a big tournament I cannot sleep. But when you arrive on the court you forget everything and when you win it is an unbelievable feeling. When the match is very tight and you win, emotions are so big. I don’t know how to say. You escape from everything, you feel free and everything is fine».