Falcons’ Gerell believes team is familiar with each other

Falcons TTC, the city-based franchise in the Ultimate Table Tennis League, appears to have made a head start with the choice of players in what appears to be a highly competitive league.

Par Gerell of Sweden, will be representing Chennai’s Falcons TTC in the Ultimate Table Tennis League.   -  The Hindu

Falcons TTC, the city-based franchise in the Ultimate Table Tennis League, appears to have made a head start with its choice of players in what appears to be a highly competitive league.

Wu Yang is the only [women] Chinese player in the league with a world singles ranking of 13. In Lee Ho Ching, the club has a player who can play singles and doubles with panache.

With a world ranking of 36 in singles, Ching reached the quarterfinals of the women’s doubles in the World championship held in Dusseldorf recently. And in players such as Par Gerell, Liam Pitchford and Sanil Shetty, it has a team which looks pretty solid in men’s singles.

Above all things, the familiarity among players of different nationalities will be a key factor and Falcons score high on that count.

Gerell, one of the veterans on the ITTF Pro Tour with a world men’s singles ranking of 41, said interacting with paddlers from different nationalities is no issue at all as he knows most of the players in his team. “I think it is Ok. [Liam] Pitchford is living in the same city [Hamstad] as me. Sanil Shetty, I have seen on the Tour and the Portugese coach Francisco [Santos] I know. And I’ve played with [Indian coach] Soumyadeep [Roy) as well. I know almost all the players. We’ve already spoken a little bit. It will be a good atmosphere,” the 35-year-old Swede said.

The format of nine matches in a tie in UTT, felt Gerell is something new, and one will have wait and watch as to how it unfolds. “We will see. It’s a new system. The important thing is games will not take a long time to finish. Also, it’s up to players not to take too long a time,” he said.

Having taken part in three successive Olympics from 2008 Beijing Games, Gerell said he is looking forward to the Tokyo Games. “I’ve had a good season behind me. I played my best TT in the last 2-3 years winning a singles bronze in the ’15 European championship and reaching the quarterfinals of the ’16 World Cup in Germany. I am getting ready for 2020,” he said.

The days of Sweden’s glory when Mikael Appelgren, Jan Ove Waldner and Jorgen Persson ruled the TT world are not completely over yet, according to Gerell, as the country has some good players who can shine at the global level in the near future.

“Slowly and steadily, good players are coming [from Sweden]. 19-year-old Anton Kallberg, ranked 95 in the world, is one such. He lost in six games (2-4) in the second round of the recent world championship to Ma Long. If he becomes more solid he can do well. We do have 4-5 good players,” he explained.

He was all praise for the Indians, and felt this is the best phase where three Indians are in the top 100. “Indian players are improving each year. Sharath [Kamal] is playing at a high level. Soumyajit [Ghosh], Harmeet [Desai] and Sathiyan are playing well and getting better results. They [India] are a dangerous team,” he said.

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