Simon Gauzy and TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen awaits a crucial encounter already in their first game of TTBL’s new season 2020/21: They will revive last season’s final with a match against 1. FC Saarbrücken TT. We have interviewed Gauzy who is currently listed as 19th in the world ranking about his perceptions of TTF’s team strengths, the current season and the transfer of Emmanuel Lebesson.

Mr. Gauzy, if I am not mistaken, a picture on your Instagram account revealed that you are engagegd now. Congratulations! How did you propose?

We had a nice day on our vacation in Greece, and in the evening after dinner at a good restaurant I just asked on my knees for her hand – and she said yes!

But now to sports. Ochsenhausen didn’t make it to the top, neither in the final, nor in the official league last season. However, in the 2018/2019 season you won two titles. How would you explain that?

We had a great year last season. Obviously, without a title it’s not the best effort possible but we had all possibilities to win another title. In the German cup, we were obviously unlucky with the injury of Hugo, it would have changed the outcome in the final against Grünwettersbach in my opinion. In the Bundesliga, we fought very hard to beat Düsseldorf in the semi finals and we met a strong team with Saarbrücken in the final. They were the better team on that day even if we had a few regrets. But overall, it was a great season for us.

Despite the defeats the team now seems to be on the road to success since you have reached five finals in a row. Where do see the team’s strengths?

Since two seasons we have two players in the top 20 of the world with Hugo and me. We were almost always showing the best of our game when it really mattered and it helped a lot. Jakub played an amazing season last year. Stefan was a great addition to our team in the last two years. The club and the coaches are doing an amazing job around us and we have perfect conditions. As a result of the finals, two titles is not bad. We hope to have some more in the future!

There have been some changes in the team for the new season. Jakub Dyjas and Stefan Fegerl left the team while Kanak Jha, Samuel Kulczycki and Maciej Kubik joined it. How strong do you perceive the team’s performance?

Jakub and Stefan were two amazing teammates and became good friends of mine. I miss them a lot, that’s for sure, but in the same time I’m very excited! The team is younger and less experienced. Maybe we are weaker on paper but I believe that Hugo and me will keep doing our job as we did in the past years and that the young guys will level up and win some matches for the club. They certainly are pressurized because they come to a club which was set for five finals in a row but I hope and I'm pretty sure they will feel good with us and give all they have.

Especially the 20 year old Kanak Jha is expected to play a crucial role for Ochsenhausen in the new season. You have played him before and won 3:0. How do you perceive his development?

He is a good player and still very young. The first season in the Bundesliga is pretty hard, especially when you are young. He was Grenzau’s first option, and now he will be number three, at least on paper. He probably won’t have so much weight on his shoulders, and I hope he will keep playing better and better to help us reach something big this season!

Your fellow countryman Emmanuel Lebesson has almost become a neighbor with his transfer to TTC Neu-Ulm. What did you share with him about TTC and the TTBL?

Emmanuel is my closest friend, an amazing person and certainly a great player. He will be an amazing addition to TTC's team. Of course, I know the players of TTC Neu-Ulm but the club is very young so I can’t tell him any details about TTC. About the TTBL in general I told Emmanuel that it's a high level of pressure and that the league is much harder to handle than the league in France. But he is ready for this challenge! I’m very happy he joins me here in Germany but I hope I’m still the lucky winner when we meet.

Your season opening will bring you the title holder: How important will the encounter with 1. FC Saarbrücken TT be for the course of the season?

They are the best team in the league. Last year we lost 0:3 against them in the first game as well. And we still went to the final. It’s not a key game, but of course both teams want to show their strength! We want to wipe out our defeat and show that we are still a winning contender. I’m super excited!

Header photo: Simon Gauzy (by BeLa Sportfoto)