You won the last match of the Boys Team Event final to clinch the gold medal for China. What does it represent for you?
Xu Haidong: “It has been a privilege to play for my Country. I have not played for myself, but to represent China. I want to thank my teammates and our coach who truly supported me during the game”.
After surrendering them last year, China won back both the girls and boys Team titles. How important was it?
“Even if we had lost against Japan last year in the Boys Team Event’s final, I think it was a positive experience. That helped to identify some problems we had. This year we take both titles back home because we succeeded in addressing these issues”.
You beat Japan 3-0 in the final. At this point, do you expect to see China also on the podium of the Boys’ Singles?
“No, it’s an all-different competition, and other Nations will do their best to beat us. I will obviously try my best to reach the final, where I hope to play against one of my teammates”.
You personally play with a penholder grip. What are the benefits and the disadvantages of this grip for you?
“Actually, there are benefits and disadvantages with the penholder grip. I wouldn’t say that there are a big number of advantages, but those few are key to my game – service, speed and smashes. Also, this playing style is part of our history, it’s a Chinese style, and it is important that some players keep on playing like that”.
Is it your first time in Italy? Do you like the city, the food, etc?
“Yes, it is my first time in Italy. For my first impression, I found the city of Riva del Garda to be really beautiful with a peaceful atmosphere. The food is also very good, so I feel very well here”.