'I am here to stay'- Sathiyan after promising World Cup campaign

G. Sathiyan's dream ITTF Men's World Cup debut came to an end when he lost to former World No. 1 Timo Boll in the round of 16 in China.

G. Sathiyan had defeated the higher-ranked Simon Gauzy and Jonathan Groth in Group D of the 2019 ITTF Men's World Cup.   -  Twitter (@sathiyantt)

G. Sathiyan, only the second Indian to make it to the knockout stage of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Men’s World Cup, says he could not have asked for a better performance at the tournament.

“I was put in a difficult group against guys who I had never beaten. But I played my best table tennis here (in Chengdu, China). I liked the way I played and approached the matches. I have announced myself to the world of table tennis that I am here to stay,” he said.

Sathiyan had defeated the higher-ranked Simon Gauzy and Jonathan Groth in Group D.

READ | Sathiyan bows out of Table Tennis Men's World Cup

Talking about his loss to former world No. 1 Timo Boll in the round of 16 on Saturday, India’s highest-ranked player said he knew it was going to be an uphill task and it was the German’s experience that outdid him.

“I got off to a good start and won the first game. I played aggressively but he slowed down, varied the pace of the game and didn’t allow me to settle down. He kept changing the strategy. He is such an experienced player and that’s what great players do. They change their game and don’t give their opponents any chance,” said Sathiyan.

When asked about the pressure, the Chennai paddler said he did not face any during the match against Boll and said “the way he slowed down the game and took control was sheer class.”

His coach, S. Raman, said Sathiyan sent out a strong message to the world of table tennis that he is here to stay and a force to be reckoned with. “He adapted very quickly, he stepped up his game and showed good mentality,” he said.

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The biggest takeaway for Raman was to see Boll work hard for his points. “He didn’t give Sathiyan any room to play his shots and we take that as a positive. It shows that big names, the veterans are not taking him lightly. Boll is the Federer/Nadal of table tennis. So, if Timo felt pressure, it’s a sign of good things to come,” said Raman.

Sathiyan will next be going to Germany for the next 10 days to play a couple of matches in the table tennis league there. “Towards December, I will go to Korea and practice with the Korean team. Then, before heading to the Tokyo 2020 qualifiers in Portugal in January, I will be in Germany practising with the Indian team,” he added.