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Timo Boll and Dimitrij Ovtcharov Withdraw From Internal Olympic Scrimmage Due To Injuries

Dima Ovtcharov and Timo Boll are injured two weeks ahead of Tokyo

German media has reported injuries to both Timo Boll and Dimitrij Ovtcharov two weeks ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. This news follows shortly after Vladimir Samsonov withdrew from the Tokyo Olympics and then shortly after announced his retirement due to medical issues. England’s Paul Drinkhall will replace Samsonov at the Tokyo Olympics. A translation of the key information of Boll and Ovtcharov’s injuries is provided below.

European table tennis champion Timo Boll injured his hip two weeks before the start of the Olympic Games. The 40-year-old had to break off the internal test tournament “Tokyo Challenge” of the German team in Düsseldorf at the weekend.

“When I stepped forward, it hit my right hip,” said Boll. It is currently unclear whether his start in the Olympics in the individual and in the team will be impaired or even endangered. “We have to wait until the next week and hope that we can go to Tokyo with four healthy players,” said national coach Jörg Roßkopf.

For reasons of caution, the former world number one Dimitrij Ovtcharov also decided not to participate in the “Tokyo Challenge” final. “Yesterday against Dang [Qiu] there was a pinch in the knee, now my left foot is a bit swollen. I’m still healthy, but after the European Championships I increased my training schedule even further and am now at the limit,” said the 32-year-old.

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Timo Boll Defeats Dimitrij Ovtcharov To Win Eighth European Championship

Dimitrij Ovtcharov serves to Timo Boll

Dimitrij Ovtcharov smashed a forehand into the net at match point and Timo Boll threw his hands into the air as he defeated Ovtcharov 4-1 (9-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-8, 11-8) to win his record-setting eighth European Championships. Vladimir Samsonov and Gábor Gergely are tied for second-to-most men’s singles European championships, with three titles each.

It’s a well-deserved title for 40-year-old Boll as he beat every European player ranked top-10 in the world (other than himself) en route to his title. In addition to beating Ovtcharov in the finals, Boll also beat Mattias Falck 4-2 earlier in the day in the semi-finals.

After the match, Boll said, “The last few days were really tough, but I treated myself really hard, and in the end I played fantastic table tennis, and I’m happy. What should I say? I didn’t expect it…I wasn’t sure if I could handle three, four days of such a championship. Physically, I’m tired now, but I could manage it, and therefore I am really happy.”

Cognizant of his age, Boll further added, “The first [championship] is always special, but this can be my last, so it was also emotional, and I had a tough last year. I was close to stopping maybe my career. Exactly one year ago, I was close to down at the bottom, and I’m back again, so I feel really glad.”

The full match can be watched on the ETTU TV webpage.

Game 1

Boll got off to a slow start as he missed two serve returns to go down 2-0. Boll was able to get two lucky balls early on to keep himself in the game, but solid play from Ovtcharov allowed him to extend his lead to 8-5. Ovtcharov whiffed a forehand loop, and then Boll further narrowed the lead to 8-7 with a pretty point in which he spun the ball from below table height that Ovtcharov was unable to block. After the players exchanged two missed loops each, Ovtcharov held game point at 10-9, which he promptly converted with two strong backhand loops.

Game 2

Boll again got off to a slow start in game 2 as he missed several openings to go down into a 5-2 hole. However, Boll appeared to find his rhythm as his steady spinny loops and wide rallies combined with Ovtcharov’s problems executing his short flick well allowed Boll to reel off eight straight points and cruise to a 11-6 victory.

Game 3

Ovtcharov opened the third game with two lucky points to go up 2-0 and scored several more points by pinning Boll down with several wide counters. However, despite another net ball for Ovtcharov at 7-7 to give him the 3-0 edge in lucky balls over the course of the game, Boll was able to stick to the game plan of steady spinny loops and wide rallies and pressuring Ovtcharov to self-destruct on the short flick and frustrate himself as Boll eked out an 11-9 victory.

Game 4

Ovtcharov finally switched to his iconic backhand serve to start the fourth game, but he switched back to the forehand serve after he split his two backhand serves. After Ovtcharov gave a weak push and missed two flicks to lose three straight points and go down 5-4, Ovtcharov called time-out. However, after the time-out, Ovtcharov’s short-game woes continued as he popped up another push and missed another two flicks as Boll extended the lead to 10-8.

Ovtcharov got ready to serve his super simple straight serve, but received a service warning regarding the height of the toss. Ovtcharov switched back to his standard pendulum serve and then lost the game 11-8 on another missed short flick.

Game 5

Ovtcharov opened the fifth game quite sloppily to lose six straight points, including a missed serve and go down 6-1. However, Ovtcharov was able to claw his way back to 7-7 after winning all four of his service points off his signature backhand serve. However, Boll was able to win the next two points on his own serve to go up 9-7 and win a pretty counter-loop rally to break Ovtcharov’s serve and go up 10-7. Ovtcharov was able to save one match point with a tricky long fast backhand serve to Boll’s forehand. However, Ovtcharov smacked the ball into the net on the next point, delivering Boll the game, match, and his record-shattering eighth title.

Watch curated video hilights in the Instagram post below:

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Timo Boll Defeats Anton Kallberg 4-1 in ETTC Quarter-Finals

Timo Boll defeated his Bundesliga teammate Anton Kallberg 4-1 (12-10, 15-17, 11-8, 11-8, 16-14) in the quarter-finals of the European Table Tennis Championships.

In a post-game interview, Boll remarked that this was one of his best if not his best match in the last one or two years as he felt that he was agile and thinking well throughout the match. Boll pointed to the first game as a tone-setter for the match, as he came back from down 8-2 to win the game 12-10.

The fifth and final game was also heartbreaking for Kallberg as he was up 10-8 and blew a total of four game points, all with service, to lose the game 16-14. In particular, on Kallberg’s third game point at 12-11, Boll caught a lucky net-ball on the serve return that was virtually impossible to return. Kallberg was able to save two match points during the deuce, but Boll got an edge ball at 15-14 to close out the game and the match.

Boll will face top seed Mattias Falck in the semi-finals on Sunday at 12:10 Warsaw time (+2 GMT). The match can be watched on the ETTU homepage. In the other semi-final, Marcos Freitas will play against Dimitrij Ovtcharov.

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Timo Boll Interview With German Newspaper Fuldaer Zeitung

Timo Boll recently did an interview with the German Newspaper Fuldaer Zeitung. We provide a rough translation (courtesy of Google Translate) of the interview. Additional notes for clarity were inserted in italics.

When Timo Boll comes to Maberzell [a table tennis club], a full house is guaranteed. The coronavirus lockdowns prevent this. Instead of signing autographs, the 39-year-old table tennis superstar from Borussia Düsseldorf [a table tennis club] takes time for an interview and to discuss personal matters.

At 16 you still have dreams. How about 39?

Ambition is definitely there. However, every day is no longer the same as the next. Sometimes I’m just the same and full of energy. Then there are days when I wake up and it pinches all over the place. I am currently in a very good phase. I feel like I can definitely fight for medals at the Tokyo Olympics.

How much are the corona restrictions hindering the preparations for your sixth Olympic Games in Tokyo?

Not particularly. I play a lot of Bundesliga games and can go through my training program during the week. For me as an older player, it is not so problematic not to fly around the world to play in international tournaments. So I have my routine and do not need to constantly change time zones and temperatures. That’s good for me.

Then there will definitely be more time for your family.

Yes, I’ve never been home for so long in one go. Our Champions League bubble in Düsseldorf – that was nine or ten days – felt like forever. Otherwise that was the standard. I was on the road for one to three weeks at a time and had the suitcases brought to the airport to have fresh laundry again. Now I get something from my daughter’s childhood. That’s why I don’t want to complain too much.

Your daughter Zoey is seven years old. Who is responsible for homeschooling?

I’ll do it.

Do you have the peace and quiet you need?

Yes, but sport makes me a perfectionist. I sometimes find myself having high expectations of her after all. I really have to pull myself out at times.

Would you be a born elementary school teacher?

I would have to re-educate myself a bit. As a competitive athlete, I am very meticulous and almost obsessed with details. You can’t be in elementary school. If the E or O is not so nicely curved, you have to look over it without having a fit. This meticulousness made me so good as an athlete and is perhaps a weakness as a teacher.

Your hairstyle fits. What’s the secret?

I am very lucky that my wife is a trained hairdresser. She hasn’t worked for 15 years, but she hasn’t forgotten how to do it. So I’m happy to have the cut now without doing something that is forbidden [by covid restrictions].

You radiate calm. Can you get mad at anything?

We have just had a young puppy again. It’s ten weeks old and full of energy. If he bites a table or chair leg for the 25th time, I really have to keep my composure. It tingles inside me.

Athletes are welcome guests on a wide variety of television formats. Would you consider a job in the jungle camp, at Let’s Dance or the ultra-hard sports show Eternal Heroes?

The Eternal Heroes was partly a very funny show with a couple of very good challenges. The other is just too extreme. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not the type of person who wants to be the center of attention. And that’s what these shows are made for.

Are there plans for a life after an active career?

Of course, you make a few thoughts. In my head I’m still too much an athlete and table tennis player. I still enjoy it too much. The thought of it hurts me. I am grateful that things are still going so well at this high level. I will try to drag out the end of my career as long as possible. There will probably never be anything more that I can do so well and that I enjoy so much. I’ll probably have to be dragged off the record at some point.