In a sport highly dominated by Asians, Timo Boll, a German, is a force to reckon with in the Table tennis space. Arguably one of the greatest Germans to swing a paddle, he plays with the famous shakehand-grip technique.
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He has reached the summit of the world table tennis rankings on multiple occasions amongst other achievements. Besides the numerous achievements, what other interesting information is there about this enigmatic personality? Let’s find out!
Timo Boll was born in 1981 in Erbach im Odenwald Hessen into a family that had a lot of appreciation for table tennis. He pretty much started playing table tennis at the early age of four as his father started coaching him early on.
Starting the sport at an early age did help develop enough motivation and focus and a superior mentality.
As such, Timo had a very solid background in the sport.
Coaches and Evolution of Style of Play
Timo’s father is his first-ever coach. Although he wasn’t a pro himself, he introduced Timo to the game and helped him take his first steps in the early stages.
Soon after, Timo was discovered by Helmut Hampel, a Hessian trainer who then took him under his wings for a while before promoting him.
In the German National team, Timo is coached by Richard Prause, a former table tennis player himself. Timo plays with the left-handed shakehand-grip technique and playing with Richard at the National side over the years has helped him model his game to have a very strong topspin serve and a very tough short receive.
Presently, he is well known for the heavy topspin he puts on the ball with every stroke. This makes it hard for the opponent to receive the ball short. When the opponent does receive, the ball goes long, allowing him to attack with the topspin heavily.
His coaches over the years have diverse approaches to the game. This has counted as an advantage for Timo in the sense that he has been able to play to different strengths although he has a technique which he specializes in. Nonetheless, his serves and receives are still very unpredictable by the opponent.
Career Defeats and Setbacks
Even in China, Timo Boll is one of the most revered Europeans in Table tennis. He’s had an illustrious career and is dubbed a Legend.
However, as with many other legends, he’s had some major career setbacks. For Timo, his career setbacks and defeats can be significantly attributed to his back injury struggles.
In the early parts of 2004, Timo had serious back injury problems which somewhat affected his performances. He couldn’t prepare properly for the 2004 Olympics and was knocked out in the quarter-finals as a result. He also lost at the semi-finals of the Pro tour finals in Beijing.
This continuous spell of underperformance began coming to an end in 2005 as he won the doubles with Christian Suss at the World championships. He also became a recipient of the fair play award for the noble act of correcting the referee about a wrong decision which was in his favor.
He wrapped up the year on a positive note by winning the champions league and the world cup. He rightly claimed the status of “legend” with a comeback; exactly what legends do.
A similar setback occurred in 2015. This time he had a Knee injury that had him sit out for a lengthy period. After that period, although he qualified for the Olympics, he crashed out at the round of 32.
Once again he regained form and got back to winning ways in 2017.
In his illustrious career, the following events, victories, and occurrences qualify as outstanding moments to always look back on:
- Becoming the table tennis Junior player of the year in 1997.
- Becoming the German table tennis player in 1998, the following year.
- Making the list of the world’s top ten players in 2002 at the early age of 21.
- Beating the World champion Wang Liqin and the Olympic champion Kong Linghui in the 2002 World Cup to occupy the number one spot in the World rankings.
- Receiving the Fair Play Award for correcting the referee about a wrong decision in his Favour.
- Sportsman of the year in 2008 and 2010.
Timo Boll duly represents Germany and Europe as a whole in Table Tennis, a sport which is highly dominated by Asians. His reputation is quite far-reaching; he’s highly respected even in China; a true legend.
Lucky to have a father who fueled his passion for the sport at the early age of four, but, he has also put in the work to achieve his present status.
Although he had slight setbacks in terms of injuries, he has done what true legends do; he bounced back with victories.
All of these wouldn’t have been possible without the input of his various coaches both at the national and club sides who have been able to help him model his game to minimize weaknesses and loopholes.