Sanil Shetty is the upcoming star of the Indian table tennis fraternity. He played a crucial role in guiding India to win a silver at the recently concluded Commonwealth table tennis championship.
Do you think the team could have won gold instead of silver in the recently concluded Commonwealth Championship? What went wrong?
Yes, we had a good chance of winning gold in the Commonwealth but the Singapore players gave their best in the final and we faltered at crucial stages. We were not able to put any pressure on them. We did put up a good fight though. Maybe if we had made a little more effort, we might have pulled off a win.
You lost in a very close battle to Liang Ma. You must have been very disappointed.
Actually yes, I was very disappointed because I was in good shape. I was more focused, fit and hitting the ball more accurately than ever. Everything was going perfect for me but unfortunately, in the last set, I just made some unforced errors which cost me everything. It was game set match for Ma Liang.
Going by personal experience, does being left-handed help in TT?
Well, sometimes yes, because my strokes are very different and my angles are very difficult for the opponent to predict. Also, mostly right handed players have a mental block when it comes to facing left handed players. A perfect example of this can be seen in matches between Federer and Nadal in lawn tennis.
Which department do you think Indian players lack the most in TT?
Indian players are not so strong in there basics as compared to China, Japan and some other countries. For [success in] any game, basics need to be thorough[ly learn]. If our basics are right and strong, then we will automatically be on the same level as they are and as far as the Indian talent goes, maybe better than them.
That’s not true. In today’s date, TT is one of the most expensive games. The travelling expenses, the rackets, balls, everything is expensive for a middle class family to afford for their kids.
One needs good sponsors to play the game at a professional level. If you want to spread awareness about the sport, you need publicity, for example last week I was in Paris for World Championship. They had started spreading the news all over France about the world championship 2 months prior to it and as a result, everyday there where more then 15,000 people present in the stadium to watch the matches.
Apart from TT, which other sports do you follow?
Lawn tennis. Rafael Nadal is my favourite player.
China dominates the international TT scene. Do you see them relinquishing the top spot to any other country in the near future?
I can’t see anyone who can beat China in the near future. From infrastructure to training, they have everything far superior than most of the countries have. In fact, no other Asian country has a sporting culture as good as the Chinese. They are far ahead of us.
Which is that one victory that you relish the most?
Victories are hard earned, therefore every victory gives the utmost satisfaction.