Hugo Calderano has had a very successful year: With the TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen he won two titles, in the world ranking he held his place in the top ten. We talked to the 23-year-old Brazilian about a career dream, his club's new role as a favourite, and the new season in the Tischtennis Bundesliga (TTBL).
Since this month you are the best non-Asian player in the world ranking and ranked one place better than Timo Boll. How does it feel?
Hugo Calderano: I feel great. It's a big achievement for me. The competition is very hard in table tennis nowadays and I hope to be able to continue to fight against the Asian and especially the Chinese players.
You won the bronze medal at the Youth Olympic Games in 2014, so you are the first and still the only Brazilian table tennis player, who won a medal at an Olympic competition. Which title are you now aiming for most: a medal at the World Cup, at the Olympic Games or another one?
Calderano: My biggest goal is to get a medal at the Olympic Games.
You led your team to two titles in the last season. Are the TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen now the favourite for the titles in the upcoming season?
Calderano: I think we are one of the best teams in the league and will fight to bring more titles to Ochsenhausen, but I wouldn't call anyone a favourite.
Which teams are the biggest rivals in the race for the titles?
Calderano: Most of teams are very strong in the TTBL. I think many will fight to reach the playoffs, and from then on, anything could happen.
How do you see the level in the TTBL in general?
Calderano: The level in the league is now very high. Some teams got better than last season, so it will be interesting to see how everyone will perform next season.
The table tennis calendar is very busy, even in summertime. Right now you are at the T2 Diamond event in Malaysia. Did you have any holidays at all?
Calderano: It's hard to take some time off at today's calendar. I was able to go home and rest for ten days with my family in Rio after the Japan Open. It was important for me to get some extra energy, recover and get my body ready for the next months.
How do you prepare for the upcoming season in detail?
Calderano: Since I'll start the season coming from the Australian Open, the T2 event and the Pan American Games, I won't do any special preparation and will have already a good playing rythm.
Photo: BeLa Sportfoto