Like a Walk in the Desert

Image2013 GAC Group World Tour Super Series German Open  – Women’s singles and potential European stars ?! .  Browsing, browsing, browsing – looking, looking and looking. Not much out there – not much to get excited over for the fans   .  My god – what a fantastic opportunity for a female table tennis rock star to take over the courts and the attention.

Let’s face it. European Table Tennis overall   and its future is not going to be an easy fix. Here in Berlin, at the German Open, European coaches are invited to discuss future initiatives and cooperation with ETTU and ITTF reps tomorrow afternoon.  For sure there will be some coaches raising their voices – asking questions – but I doubt that there will be many ideas brought to the table. 

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I think personally that we have reached a point of no return, especially in some areas. One of the more urgent  field in need for attention is female table tennis.

In the women’s singles  here in Berlin we have seven athletes of European decent qualified for the main draw. We can expect a few more of course surviving the final stage of the qualification – but overall the situation looks bleak.   Such a statement becomes even more true if you take away the German Women’s team with Sabine Winter – Kristin Silbereisen – Petrissa Solja and the most talented of them all ;  Nina Mittelham.  

Out of this group – fighting for space and breathing room in the German system Nina is clearly the nr one prospect. She has a natural talent for the game and style-wise she is with a well-developed spin and placement game something to keep both one and two eyes on in the years to come. Rio 2016? – well why not? The development curve shows nothing but steep rise for the moment.

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With almost a system collapse happening in  the past strongholds for women’s tt  like ; Croatia – Hungary – Czech Republic and  according to the rumors much less resources in Poland ,  big time struggle in the Netherlands,   and the not much going on sign ( except for  perhaps a small upswing in Sweden ) in the Nordic countries  and  in the Mediterranean,  we are left ( as always ) with the Romanians  – the Russians and a few other hard working individuals from the former East Bloc   .

The blogger should perhaps not forget Marie Migot from France – a nice talent that however seems to be struggling for the moment. Even more worrisome is that she seems to be mismanaged big time by the French association missing out on major opportunities for success time after time.

Back to the Romanian girls who still is holding fort pretty well.  However   long time junior stars like Elizabeta Samara and Daniella Dodean- Monterio often leaves  a true fan of the sport longing for more success and better intensity , especially when facing mediocre Asian opponents  . Then we have Bernadette Scocz – well she is just “Bernie” more often than necessary , stumbling on the final hurdle due to style or technical short comings .. Having said that here in Berlin at the German Open  she is looking both confident and improved.

But that is pretty much it for European Women’s table tennis for the moment.  Not much to decorate the Christmas tree with. Hard work – clever ideas – close cooperation between those who want something is desperately needed.

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