Timo Boll's advice for Chinese football
Updated: 2015-04-14 13:36
Timo Boll of Germany serves against Koki Niwa of Japan during their semifinal match of the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Tokyo, May 4, 2014. [Photo/IC]
BERLIN -- Small ball or big ball, this is a question. Germany's star table tennis player Timo Boll, once world No. 1 in the ITTF rankings, also loves football and even played as a striker at a local club when he was a kid. In an recent interview with Xinhua, he said he believes that the hard-working and patient Chinese will manage to get nearer to the world's best with the help of a well-designed football development strategy.
In the interview, he also talked about upcoming games in China, especially his pairing up with China's Ma Long in the men's doubles at this year's table tennis worlds in Suzhou.
Xinhua: Mr. Boll, what do you prefer, a small ball or more of a big one?
Timo Boll (laughing): "That sounds like a life-long question and an impossible one to answer."
Xinhua: Yes, it's either a football or a table-tennis ball. It's your decision...
Boll: "Oh thank you, somehow I feel I'm in a bit of a tricky situation right now. But seriously, table tennis is my lifelong passion but there again I'm German and have a great love of football, too."
Xinhua: We're happy about that because we would like to talk about football and China.
Boll: "That's going to be interesting because at the end of April I'll be playing in the table-tennis World Cup in Suzhou - and by the way in the double event with a great Chinese sportsman - Ma Long, the seven-time World Champion. And in July I'll be playing for Shandong Weiqiao in the Chinese Super League and will later compete in the China Open in Chengdu in August. By the way with a small table-tennis ball..."
Xinhua: "We'll be keeping our fingers crossed for you. What are your goals with the small table-tennis ball?"
Boll: "We want to win and play great table tennis. The doubles pairing is no PR gag, it's something we will be taking very seriously. Ma Long is a top class player of which China has many. Our games suit each other as he is an absolute killer at the table. He has the hardest shots and is a fighter with a great character."
Xinhua: "That's something you would need in football too, a fighting spirit and a team spirit. China recently has revealed plans to establish football as a national sport. What do you expect from China's football in the future?"
Boll: "I'm looking forward with great interest as to how the plans of President Xi Jinping develop. I don't think the people in China expect a rapid short-term growth. China won't win the next World Cup. Firstly the Chinese people generally are very patient and it is one reason why I feel so at home in China. However the Chinese are ambitious too. Meaning: Once they have a goal, they constantly work towards achieving it and it will be the same way with football too."
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