Liam Pitchford: UTT perfect preparation for CWG

The 23-year-old feels the upcoming Ultimate Table Tennis tournament would bolster his chances at the upcoming Common Wealth Games.

The Brit paddler also expressed that the tournament's format will make it very exciting.   -  Special Arrangement

British table tennis star Liam Pitchford is one to watch out for in the upcoming Ultimate Table Tennis tournament (UTT) starting on July 13. The paddler was only 17 when he helped his country secure a silver medal in the 2010 Commonwealth Games (CWG) and repeated the feat with another silver in the following edition in Glasgow. 

With the 2018 CWG coming up, Pitchford is looking to further up his game and make the most of the UTT, where he will represent the Falcons TTC. “I'm really excited to come back to India, I had an amazing experience last time. The UTT is a great initiative and I'm especially excited to be playing in it,” said the 23-year-old.

Pitchford's squad features players from Sweden, China, Hong Kong and India.“I know the players from the tour and I'm sure we're going to have a good bonding, which is crucial to get positive results.”

England's number-two ranked paddler will also partner with rising star, Sanil Shetty. “He's a really good player and put up really good results this week in Australia. It's good to see there are many good upcoming players. After (Sharath) Kamal retires, there are a lot of players that can take over.”

He felt the league would bolster his chances at the upcoming CWG. “This is the perfect opportunity to play some good matches and to play against the Indians as well. They're our rivals at the CWG, so I can possibly get few tactics on them here (laughs).”

The Brit also expressed that the tournament's format will make it very exciting. "The format puts more pressure on the players and makes it more exciting. The mixed doubles is going to be really interesting and crucial in the league."

He added,"A lot of players are of a similar level and there are going to be some surprises. Everybody can beat everybody, that's how table tennis is."

Pitchford is among the younger players in the UTT, but is not one to back down. “I'm young but I've played a lot of big tournaments. I'm sure the older guys will try some tricks against me, but I've got a few of my own,” he says, amidst laughs.

The 59-ranked Pitchford will turn 24 on July 12, one day before the start of the tourney. "I don't have any special plans. A win in the match on the day after would be a nice birthday present."