The playing days are still far from over. Werner Schlager from Austria – celebrated world champion in Men’s singles 2003 in Paris, will most certainly continue to delight Table Tennis fans all over the world with his unique and smart style of play the coming years. Having said that, it is also clear that the Austrian star player has other priorities in life keeping him busy. Recently he stayed at home from the World Championships in Yokohama for family reasons and these days he is busy with another project carrying his name ; The Werner Schlager Academy.
The WSA project is not, by any means, small stuff in the Table Tennis world. If promise comes to reality, the center carrying Schlager signum will be magnificent when it opens in brand new facilities, just outside Vienna early next year. Initial reports are talking some forty practice tables and residential arrangements very closely connected.
Rumors out there is also swirling when it comes to potential coaches ready to join the WSA. Mario Amizic – the well know Croatian coaching whiz is most certainly one of them and the Swedish Junior National Coach Tomas Von Scheele is another big name mentioned lately.
This week the small city of Maria Alm some 80 km outside of Salzburg got its first taste of Werner and his new project. An impressive troop of international guests, national team caliber players and local talents gathered Monday for an intense opening of the Werner Schlager on tour training camp series.
Full action on eighteen tables, three daily training sessions and plenty of other good training initiatives has been on display during the week. The ITTF caught up with one of the most experienced coaches in attendance – The Danish National Coach Peter Sartz to get a full review.
“I have to say that I am quite impressed Peter said. First of all the conditions are great and this is indeed a beautiful place to stage a camp – even the weather has been cooperating with damp and rainy week keeping the players fully focused on Table Tennis activities.
Also when it comes to technical matters the Danish head coach had praise on his mind.
“Impressive intensity and quality I must say! Werner himself has been very active getting personally involved with all the players in the camp , if he can keep the project running with the same quality moving forward the WSA center will I am sure become a sough after place to practice explained Peter Sartz. My players have certainly benefitted from a wide range of sparring partners and we are interested to come back for sure”