When reporting about the present champion TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen two names are commonly dropped: Hugo Calderano and Simon Gauzy. However, one man that already has a secure spot in the team gradually comes out of the two top players’ shadow. We are talking about Jakub Dyjas.
Jakub Dyjas is one of the standout-athletes in Ochsenhausen and serves as an example for how well professionals seem to develop as their very own protégé in the Liebherr Masters College (LMC). As a seventeen-year-old teenager Dyjas migrated from Poland to Ochsenhausen’s LMC and since then practiced under professional athletic conditions. First, he served for Bergneustadt in the 2nd division Bundesliga, afterwards for one year in Passau and finally he was integrated into Ochsenhausen’s varsity team in 2015. Being twenty years of age he achieved a 9:9-balance score sheet in his premiere season. Since then he was able to continue his positive balance, in the last season even highly positive. Currently, Dyjas counts 13 wins and five losses which rank him eighth in the TTBL – by the way: his team colleagues Calderano and Gauzy are left standing. In addition, he was one out of only three players managing to succeed against 1. FC Saarbrücken TT’s Shang Kun.
“During my time in the LMC I developed both personally and professionally. I was able to learn from the expertise of so many different persons which really was a benefit”, says Dyjas. It seems as if he has come out of the shadow of Calderano and Gauzy. However, he would not admit that himself. “I am very happy with my performance but we are a team and at the end of the day it is important to win as a team.” With the advantage of three high-performers, the team seems greatly flexible. “I can do any position and that’s strategically a huge advantage.”
„Would like to become one of Europe’s top players“
While seeming so modest and team-oriented, his personal goals are big and ambitious: The man aims for medals. “I would like to become one of Europe’s top players so my biggest goal is to win an Olympic medal”, says the Roger-Federer-fan confidently. His greatest success so far was at the European Championships in Budapest in 2016 where he won bronze in singles and silver in doubles. At the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro 2016 he fought his way into the second round. For Tokyo he still needs to qualify. Unfortunately, the Polish team did not make it. “We planned to surprise everyone but sadly we were not able to realize that. I believe that if I play well in the single qualifications then I will still have the chance to go to Tokyo”, says Dyjas. Currently he is ranked 74th in the world.
Ochsenhausen’s head coach, Dmitrij Mazunov, praises his protégé: “I believe that he can do great. After his success at the European Championships 2016 he had a rough time to live up to the level but recently he had his comeback. He is ready for the next step.” Mazunov describes Dyjas with a “strong, aggressive, dangerous game on both sides” while beyond the table he keeps it calm. “He is a very pleasant fellow.”
Manuel Pfender, employee of TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen, finds similar words about Dyjas: “I have known Jakub now for almost seven years and we get along well. In both personal and professional contexts he is always courteous and puts the team or his friends and family first.”
Dyjas’ family, his wife Marta who is a professional table tennis player for TTK Anröchte, lifts him up. The young couple got married last year and is now expecting. “I hope this provides me with some additional energy”, says Dyjas who likes to relax and recover with his family. “We travel so much during the year. The best recovery for me is at home with my family.” Anyhow, he takes a critical standpoint: “I would cut down the amount of tournaments throughout the year. A lot of players have a busy schedule flying around the world and we hardly have time for practice sessions. More time to prepare physically and mentally would be desirable.”
If Jakub Dyjas stays with Ochsenhausen after the season remains uncertain. Dyjas’ contract ends in the summer. Though, independent of whether he stays or moves on he will fight and defend the title: “If everyone on the team plays well we are able to win the championships again.”
Header photo: Jakub Dyjas (by BeLa Sportfoto)