Oh Good Lord, please forgive me for the rough and rowdy ways I have travelled in the name of this sport. I have done things. Pushed the envelope. Explored the future. Instigated debate and discussion. Questioned decisions and strategies. Engaged myself in battles with little chance to win. Fought the fight for good order and principles that I believe in… Yes – It is tough work for a man/person that somehow believes that he can change the world.
On the other hand – you need visionaries in all fields of life. Like I said to a friend on the way down to Berlin yesterday. If I had been in the corporate world – my wallet could have been pretty thick by now. Instead I have travelled the world in the name of Table Tennis for almost thirty years by now and that is really something.
This week I am in Berlin for the GAC Group World Tour German Open. Meetings’ coming up as European Table Tennis is in great need for some quality thoughts – strategies and ideas for the future. Let’s see how that goes – but first of all I intend to keep an eye on the qualification days here in the Max Schmeling Halle . Sixteen competition courts lit up. Close to four hundred players makes up one of the hardest World Tour events
on the calendar. No doubt that you might need both the heart of a lion and even a Tiger in the tank just to survive two qualification stages.
To give you an example. In the men’s singles you had to be fifty-five or better on the ITTF World Ranking to receive a free pass to the main draw. The remaining thirty two players will have to be sorted according the results from two grueling qualification days. First stage – sixty six groups of three and four players to be followed by a tough knock out stage.
That’s it. The Deep Jungle of International Table Tennis is upon us. At least for the first two days of competition in Berlin. It will be interesting to follow some of the young and upcoming stars out there. In Europe specifically we need new stars to excite – to take advantage of an aging population so to say…. But then again. The rule of the jungle is pretty clear. May the strongest survive!