Shang Kun has given us an idea about his exceptional skills already in his first TTBL season by leading 1. FC Saarbrücken TT to the first German championship title in the club’s history. We have interviewed the 29 year old Chinese player about his experiences in the Liebherr TTBL final, the after-party and the upcoming season.
Again, congrats to winning the title in the Liebherr TTBL final! You really seem to have had a run, with Simon Gauzy and Hugo Calderano you were able to defeat the opposing team’s top players. Be honest: Did you expect such a strong performance beforehand?
No, honestly I haven’t expected these results. Simon and Hugo are top players in the world, so before the matches I decided to focus on every single point. That worked out well for me.
In your opinion, what was the key to success in your two matches and for the team in general?
I think we are like a family among the players, our coach as well as our bosses. Thanks to Roland and Erwin Berg for giving us such a big support during the entire season.
How and where did the team celebrate the final’s success? Who is the team’s party-person?
We went back to Saarbrücken and celebrated there with our families. Party-person? I think our boss Erwin was the party-person!
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, unfortunately, the final had to take place without any spectators. How did you perceive the situation? Would you consider it rather an advantage or a disadvantage for the team?
It was a little bit strange indeed. But as a player we weren’t in the position to decide. And I think it made no difference at all, because Ochsenhausen and we were both in the same situation, so nobody had an advantage.
In your first TTBL season you already made it to be the league’s top player. Was it easy for you to get accommodated to the German league and in Saarbrücken? What were contributing factors?
The start was not too easy for me, especially since I had a jaw injury and surgery. At this time I really wanted to go back home. But in the meantime I feel very comfortable here.
Patrick Franziska and you are now 29 or 28 years of age which marks the perfect age group for performing in table tennis. Darko Jorgic and Tomas Polansky, however, are still at the beginning of their career. What can we expect from FCS in the next few years? Will your team dominate the league?
I really hope we can play together in a team as long as possible. And if we stay together, I think we will be able to make history for the club. Darko and Tomas are still young and need some time to grow up and improve their skills, but they have great talent. That is good for our club as well for our sponsor Tibhar.
After the final, your coach Slobodan Grujic has praised you well. How do you perceive the atmosphere and dynamics within the team?
First I want to say thanks to my coach “Bobo”. We fought together the whole season, had ups and downs and collected many great memories. And yes, our team spirit is really good indeed. I would like to enjoy it as long as possible. We all have become good friends and spend some time together in private, go out in the city and have coffee or dinner or we play FIFA together.
The summer break is ahead of us. How will you spend your time? Which plans do you have for the upcoming weeks?
At first I need to change my driver’s license. Then we will go and visit some German cities such as Frankfurt and Düsseldorf. And I will also continue my lessons in German.
You’re speaking about your German lessons: We can see a lot of pictures showing vocabulary sheets on Instagram. When can we have the first interview in German?
Das ist eine sehr gute Frage! [Answer in German; in English: That’s a really good question!] I have acquired a lot but learning German is really tough. I hope in one year I can speak proper German.
Header photo: Shang Kun (by BeLa Sportfoto)