Table tennis is no joke

as he says it WikipediaTable tennis is one of the most popular sports in the world, yet we struggle to take it seriously. Perhaps because it’s a system we’ve all had to deal with, through thick and thin, and so it’s easy to feel empowered, according to the occasion. When instead of tennis players dataProfessionals are athletes in all respects: strong, resilient, and mentally prepared for real wars of attrition. Hence there is no shortage of technical sensitivity, coordination and reflexes.

In short, play truly Table tennis is no joke. The fact that Italy is struggling to produce great talent is a clear sign in this sense. But something is changing: thirty years after Massimiliano Mondello, the most successful Italian player of all time, there is a 19-year-old who in July won the coveted bronze medal in Juniors’ Singles at the European Youth Championships in Belgrade. This is Andrea Bobo, from Liguria and destined to rewrite the history of this system in our country. His last participation was WTT Feeder Panagyurishte in Bulgaria, but he also found time to speak to Eleven Table tennis, a sport that is practiced more than is seen, popular and at the same time elitist, at first glance trivial and annoying simplicity, but it can only be practiced by players with great physical and psychological skills. like him.

Ⓤ: As it turns out, the first question is necessary. How did you deal with this in table tennis?

Thanks to my family. My father, despite not having achieved great results in his career, first guided my brother (Enrico, editor) and then me also towards this wonderful sport. Among other things, Enrico was, albeit for a short time, one of the 50 best table tennis players on the national territory. Let’s say table tennis is inseparable in our family’s DNA.

Ⓤ: When did you realize you could turn your passion into a career?

Athletic-wise, I grew up in the gym. My coach has always followed me with special attention and meticulousness, and they are aware of my potential from the very beginning. After getting some good results both nationally and in Europe, I realized that I could switch to a job that I had long considered, trivially, a simple passion. A passion like any other passion. Obviously this was not the case.

Ⓤ: How do you go from being the best boy/girl at public speaking or at the beach, team table tennis venues, to becoming an all-round pro?

I think it depends a lot on the environment you grew up in. Personally, I have always had the good fortune to deal with players who have played at a very high level, so the transition to professionalism has occurred in a progressive and natural way, at the end of a fairly consistent and essentially painless path.

Ⓤ: Can you tell us about the daily life of a table tennis professional?

I currently live in Milan and train with ten other men in a high-profile position here in Lombardy. Usually the first session of the day is at 9 / 9.30 and we continue at least until 12.00. The second training session is generally organized from 16.00 to 18.30. Of course, two or three times a week we have additional sessions of physical preparation: these are moments that should not be underestimated at all. On the other hand, our sport over the years has become much more physical than in the past: without good form, it is difficult to get good results.

Ⓤ: Did you come up with some cliché to dispel discipline? Lots of people, at least in Italy, talk about table tennis without really knowing it.

The importance of mental stability is underestimated. You can be physically explosive, but without a high head balance you won’t find a place. It’s not easy to manage a month’s high-level matches, plus you have to add travel, injuries, and problems of various kinds that make everything more difficult.

Ⓤ: What are the most frequent injuries?

Generally in the shoulder and back. But not only. A few days ago, for example, I had a thigh problem in Bulgaria. Most likely it was an injury related to the short layover after the end of the season. A break is necessary to restore energy after a particularly intense year.

Ⓤ: What is the movement point of Italian table tennis?

It is a growing movement. I would like to underscore not only my third place in the European Junior Championships, but also the extraordinary achievement of Giorgia Picoulin, who finished in the top eight in the European Absolute Championships. With the results, the vision of our reality automatically increases. Obviously, we’re nowhere near comparable to the Asian movement: China remains undisputedly the country to conquer, despite some pleasant surprises. A European nation like Sweden, for example, has consistently managed to have a say internationally.

Ⓤ: Why, in your opinion, is table tennis in Italy still considered a simple “beach sport”?

I think the reason is simply a lack of knowledge of our movement. Those who get to know her in this way do not actually know what it is, have no idea of ​​its tangible beauty and effort, the inherent magic of table tennis. Just follow our training to understand the true level of Italian professionals.

Ⓤ: Is there an athlete, not necessarily a table tennis player, who has inspired him over the years?

I don’t know, maybe Matteo Berrettini. I follow tennis and in recent years I have seen tremendous growth in terms of results obtained. I especially appreciate his professionalism off the field. It is really one of a kind.

Here’s how Andrea Bobo plays

Ⓤ: How do you think you can make table tennis the most popular in the media?

Tough question. In Italy, I think it’s a problem that really starts from the upper floors. The most important tournaments are only broadcast on YouTube. I think it’s really important to try to promote the movement with some TV coverage, maybe even some live coverage. Sky, for example, recently bought the broadcast rights to Premier Padel (the new Padel world circuit), and has achieved excellent results in terms of audience. I wonder why we can’t do the same for table tennis too.

Ⓤ: What advice do you give to someone who is approaching this specialty?

It is a difficult sport. When you start playing, you often miss this awareness which is key to achieving certain results. At certain levels, you can win, but also lose, against anyone.

Ⓤ: What can you tell us about your third place finish at the European Junior Championships in Belgrade?

An incredible and unforgettable emotion. Do I have to be completely honest? It certainly wasn’t an unexpected result, as I was the sixth seed in the tournament and was hopeful, understandably, for a third place finish. The special thing was the way that third place came in: in the round of 16 I beat my opponent, Hugo Deschamps, on the comeback. In the quarter-finals, she overtook Andre-Theodor Estret, the fourth seed in Europe, with a score of 4-2. There was a unique and exciting atmosphere: many Italians were following me, unforgettable.

Ⓤ: A small irony: you are sixth in the Italian ranking despite reaching the semi-finals in the last Italian championships, but you are the third Italian in the world ranking. How is that?

The Italian ranking is slightly “distorted” by the fact that many boys play abroad. You reached the semi-finals this year and the final last year in the Italian championship; So I think I deserve something more than sixth place. Anyway, I will try to give more attention to the international ranking…

Ⓤ: Olympic Games: Utopia or Realizable Dream?

The Olympic Games are a lifelong dream. I will do everything in my power to make it happen in 2024 and 2028.

Ⓤ: Ambitions for the near future?

To be on a permanent basis with the absolute national team, thus constantly participating in the European Cup and the World Cup, and to be among the top hundred players in the world.