Posts Written Byrosswilson

“Becoming World champion has been a dream of mine since I was seven years old and I still can’t believe that I have done it.

“I was so logical throughout the competition and was just trying to focus on my game, what I was doing and how I was going to win points and then all the emotion just came out at the end. It was an amazing feeling.

“I was feeling a bit nervous for a couple of weeks before the World Championships but I like to have a bit of nerves because getting those nerves is the best way to prepare for it because then you know what you are going to do under the pressure. The day before when you are waiting to hear the draw for the group stages is when the butterflies really start to kick in but after you hear the draw you start thinking about what you are going to do and what your strategy is going to be; what tactics you are going to use against those players and how you are going to go into those games.

 Photo by Vid Ponikvar / Sportida

“I knew I was going to have a fight on my hands in both group matches so I was very focused from the start. I went for it and took my chances and won both my group matches so I knew at the end of the first day that I was safely through to the knockout stages. As group winner and number three seed I went straight through a quarter-final against the Frenchman Thomas Bouvais.

“I struggled with him a bit in the Europeans last year and he beat one of the Chinese players in the previous round and was playing well so I knew it was going to be difficult. I knew I was going to have to come in strong from the start and I did. I prepared really well and got in the right mind-set straight away and that helped me a lot so I was really happy with the way I performed in that match.

“At that stage I was assured of a medal and I think in the past I would have thought ‘I’ve got a medal now and that takes the pressure off and I can just play freely’ but when I am in the training hall I’m always training to win and the gold medal has always been a dream of mine.

“My semi-final opponent Marcin Skrzynecki from Poland is really tactically good so he can exploit your movement weaknesses a lot. He did that to me in Rio and in the Europeans last year so I had to figure out how to deal with it this time around and hope that he couldn’t do that if I changed my game up a little bit. I’ve been working a lot on it in training for the past few months with all the coaches and it paid off. When you are doing it day in and day out in the training hall it gets boring but at the end of the day I’ve put the hours in and that is what got me the win.

 Photo by Vid Ponikvar / Sportida

“I knew the final was going to be a level up again from the previous rounds as my opponent was the double Paralympic champion from China, Zhao Shuai. A lot of the class 8 players can play a strong shot and then they’ll have to come back and play a bit of a weaker shot and then they can get in a strong shot again. But Zhao Shuai can go from shot to shot carrying on being strong and dominate games so I knew I was up against a really great player.

“He has beaten me a number of times before and I’ve always struggled with his variation and the way he changes the pace in the game. He’s also got good power and placement and he plays really well on the tight points and that does put you under a lot of pressure knowing that your opponent is really good when it gets tight. So I knew I was going to have to really up my level in the final and I just kept thinking as logically as could and stuck to my strategy no matter what situation I was in.

“I think I saved three match points and that for me was crazy. When you are match point down it is hard. You can’t think of it as just another point because you know that if you lose that point that’s it. You’re focused for every point but you’re extremely focused when it is match point and you want it that bit more. To come back from three of them being under that much pressure was amazing.

 Photo by Vid Ponikvar / Sportida

“When I had my own match point I just saw my chance and I took it. When you are thinking logically it takes the emotion out of things so when I was playing I wasn’t showing much emotion but as soon as I won that final point it hit me straight away. I knew I had won and all the emotions hit me at once and it was just an incredible feeling.

“After so many injuries winning the World title means everything to me. When you are injured so many times you begin to doubt if it will actually happen for you. You doubt yourself a bit as well but you have to keep going and just believe in yourself through all that time and think that if there could be a chance – even the slightest chance – that is enough.

“This year after winning gold at the Commonwealths I couldn’t believe it and now to be surrounded by the best players in the world and come out on top is just fantastic.

“It is just about pushing on now. There is so much room for improvement still and when I get back in the training hall I’ll look at ways to do that. It has been an amazing year from me with the Commonwealths and now this – I really can’t believe it to be honest. I’m going for Tokyo now and that is my main goal.”

“The Slovenian Open is always one of the strongest tournaments of the year and with the exception of the Chinese most of the top players were competing this year. I was happy with how I played in Slovenia although I was disappointed to lose 3-1 in the semi-finals of the singles to the World number one. We have had some close matches over the last two years, including the semi-finals of the European Championships last year, and hopefully next time I can make some changes, come back stronger and get the win against him.

 Photo by Vid Ponikvar / Sportida

“The conditions were a little bit different in Slovenia compared to what I have been playing on recently. It was quite hard to get used to that again and adapt to it but to be able to overcome it and rise to the challenge was a great feeling. I felt good on the table and I was playing from within myself and I’m really enjoying it at the moment.

“I had some really good wins in Slovenia including beating the former World number one Emil Andersson from Sweden 3-0. We have had a lot of big battles over the years and he has always been one of my big rivals. I also managed to beat Andras Csonka, the silver medallist from Rio, 3-1 so I know that I am moving in the right direction.

“I felt comfortable in those matches and I felt quite calm and concentrated the whole way. I know that I can improve on a lot of things as well so to know that is really good for me. I am really motivated at the moment and I think winning the gold medal in the Commonwealth Games has not only given me greater belief in myself but also made me hungrier for more medals and titles.

“My next big target is the World Championships in October. It will be my first World Championships as I missed the last one four years ago due to injury. I’ll have a bit of a break in the summer but for the next five months my focus will be on training and making those small improvements that will help me to produce my best in October and I’m really excited to see how far I can go against the best in the world.”

“To be selected for the Commonwealth Games was incredible. It is something I watched on TV when I was younger and something I’ve always wanted to compete in. It is an honour to compete for my country – normally I’m competing for GB but this time it was for England and I was really looking forward to experiencing another multi-sport Games.

“I spent several weeks last year travelling around Australia including the Gold Coast and I have to admit that it is my favourite country – after England. I loved the country and the people and I was looking forward to seeing how they would host such a major event.

“Before the Commonwealth Games I competed in the Italian Open in March where I took bronze in the singles and silver in the team event with Aaron (McKibbin). I don’t feel that I played my best but it was the first competition of the year and it was a positive for me that I medalled in singles and team. It also gave me a few things to work on before heading out to Australia.

“Being part of Team England was a great experience. Just to experience another multi-sport Games was incredible. The village was amazing and Australia really did do a great job.

“I personally learnt a lot from spending time with the able bodied England players because they approach things a little bit differently to us in terms of training and playing matches so I was trying to learn as well as compete while I was there. You can learn from anybody really so to be around someone of our guys’ level was something I can improve from and that will be something that I put into my training in future.

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

“The first match against the Australian Barak Mizrachi went really well. It was quite hard going out there in front of an Australian crowd because whenever you are playing against the home crowd it is always difficult but I knew that before the match and I just had to deal with it and play my game.

“My second match was really tough and I had to come back from 2-1 down to beat the class 10 South African Theo Cogill in five sets. He was moving the play around quite well and not doing anything the same and he was very consistent so I had to play well and dig deep. Fortunately I was able to do that and managed to come through in the end and get the win.

“A 3-0 win against the Nigerian Temitope Ogunsanya ensured that I won my group and set up a semi-final against my GB team mate Josh Stacey who was representing Wales.

“I knew it was going to be a really hard match because Josh is a very good player and a really tough opponent.  I had to counter his really strong start and I changed my tactics so I felt like I addressed that and was more positive in the second set and I thought I followed up on my serves better. The third set was very important and one of the turning points in the match. I managed to edge it 12-10 and then clinched the match 11-9 in the fourth.

“It was a great feeling to get through to the final but also a bit strange as I would be competing against my England team mate and good friend Kim Daybell. It is always difficult to play one of your team mates – we were sharing a room as well so we had quite a few jokes the night before but we kept everything the same as we would preparing for any match.

(Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

“Kim is a great player and a really tough opponent so after losing the first game I really thought I was in trouble. I was down in the second one towards the end of the match and the pressure was really on so it was a great feeling to come through it and to share the moment with Kim as well. To get a gold and silver for England was an absolutely amazing feeling.

“It was fantastic to see Josh get the bronze medal as well which meant that British athletes took gold, silver and bronze. I’m really happy that we could manage to do that.

“I’m really proud to be Commonwealth champion. It is something I’ve always dreamed of and to go out and win was just an absolutely amazing feeling and one I can’t really describe. My family loved it – I had some family in Brisbane that came and watched me, some that come from Sydney and flew up to the Gold Coast to watch and my mum and her partner came from England so it was fantastic to have them all there supporting me and to share that moment with them was something I’ll never forget.

“I’ve taken a bit of down time since I got back just to regather because I’ve still got a lot of competitions this season so I’ve not tried to go out and celebrate too much. It is a big thing for me individually to win but now it is about getting back to training and carrying on the competitions. A week later I was competing in the British Para Table Tennis National Championships in Grantham and I was delighted to retain my class 8 and Open Standing singles titles. To win the Commonwealth title was a dream come true but to win a National title is always something special.

“I think I’m really playing to my strengths so far this season and I’ve found a way to play again where I can play with more feeling and more within myself. I’m more confident playing like that and learning more every day so hopefully I can keep on improving over the next few months leading up to the World Championships in October.”

Ross Wilson SM8 bronze medal“The European Championships have been good overall and this is the first major where I have medalled in singles and team so it is definitely a positive for me. I have enjoyed it and although I feel that is has been a very up-and-down competition I’ve learned that major championships are like that so you take the good with the bad and just keep going.

“I was disappointed after my singles semi-final because I’ve taken the World number one Viktor Didukh close a few times now and I thought that might be the time I beat him. It was the semi-finals of the European Championships so it was obviously on quite a big stage and I really wanted to win that match but looking back it is just more motivation for me to improve and I can see where I need to make that improvement.

“At the top level it is all about figuring out each other’s games quite quickly. I think I did that but then Didukh changed a few things and his tactics changed a little bit and then I didn’t adapt as quickly as I would have liked to those changes, especially in the fifth set. If I could have adapted a bit quicker then it could have been a different result. That is what I can look at going forwards – to be able to change my game when I need to. It is about reading the game and reading what has happened and if I keep going in training and keep working on the things I want to work on then eventually I will overtake these guys. It does give me motivation for the next year to do even better at the World Championships and hopefully that is what I can do.

Ross Wilson training Lasko 2017 “We have a break for a couple of weeks now but I will go back to Sheffield as I am playing a couple of British League matches, which will be really fun and hopefully our team can do well in that. Then I will get back into the training hall and really knuckle down. I’ll watch some of the videos from the Europeans and talk to the coaches to see what I want to work on in the next block of training and then really see where I want to go and what I need to improve the most. I’ll be looking to mix up my training, find some different training partners and go from there.

“There is always pride in winning medals for your country and that is one thing I will forever enjoy doing no matter what colour it is – bronze, silver or gold. It is doing it for your country and it really is something I feel passionately about doing. I just want to carry on doing that but I want to improve the colour of the medal and hopefully get the gold next time.”

“The European Championships in Slovenia – the first major competition since Rio – start on September 28 and I can’t wait to get out there now. Preparation has been really good. We always have a training camp in Slovenia a few weeks before a major and it was great to get some good match practice out there. Since then it has been good to get back in the training hall in Sheffield and I’ve been working hard every day to see if I can find a bit more and see where I can improve my game.

Ross Wilson action 1“I’ve been trying to just sharpen everything up. Over the last four years I haven’t been able to train in the way I wanted or needed to because of my injury problems. When you haven’t been able to play that much everything is just a bit less focused than you want it to be and a bit less consistent. I just want to be able to keep practicing consistently for a lot of hours so I can keep improving and get my game back to the level it has been in the past. Hopefully if I can do that I can get back to the top of the world rankings in my class.

“It was good to win in Germany and I’d love to medal in the Europeans as well. That is where I want to be – pushing for the medals. It is a different feeling knowing that I am going in to a major competition with plenty of training behind me and that is definitely a positive. It is good to be on the table a lot more now – I can’t say that just because I have had more time on the table that I am going to do better but it is definitely good for my confidence and makes me a lot more positive and hopefully I can do well out there.”

Ross Wilson BPTT Nationals“I trained as hard as I could for the German Open and really wanted to do well so to win gold in the men’s class 8 singles was fantastic. I won my group and then beat Marcin Skrzynecki from Poland 3-0 in the quarter-finals and the Ukrainian Ivan Mai 3-0 in the semi-finals. In the final I played the former World champion Richard Csejtey from Slovakia who had beaten World number one Viktor Didukh in the semi-finals and I managed to come back from 2-1 down to take the match 11-3 in the fifth.

 “At 2-1 down in the final I changed a few things and got myself back into it. It’s nice to be back on top and winning again and I hopefully I can continue that form.

 “Winning in Germany was a big thing for me because it was an important competition and the last big competition before the European Championships in September. So to be able to win it was really good for my confidence and I just hope that I can keep building from that now towards the Europeans. I’m feeling more comfortable with my game and I think I’m getting back to where I was before my injuries when I was number two in the World. Now I know I’m competing at that level again I can keep going and keep working hard because I want to get back up to being the best in the world.”

“The Slovenia Open was a good competition for me. I played well in the group stages because I beat Marcin Skrzynecki who I lost to in Rio so I got some revenge on him. I then beat Emil Andersson in the last 16, which was also really good because I lost to him in Rio as well so that was double revenge. Although it was nice to beat the players I lost to in Rio I don’t really view it as revenge because I just wanted to get back on top and start winning against the best players again. They are all world class players and obviously sometimes I might lose to them but it is important that I am getting the results and beating them.

 Ross Wilson v Didukh Slovenia Open 2017“I lost to Viktor Didukh in the quarter-finals, 3-2. Although it was a close result against the World number one I really wanted to win so I was quite disappointed. Going forward to the next competition I‘m still striving for better and I want to be beating the best player in the world. I did beat some really good players and I’m proud of that but I want to go to the next level now and beat the very best.

 “I did a lot right against Didukh and exploited his weaknesses a lot better but towards the end of the match he started getting used to what I was doing and he started putting some things in place to stop me doing it. So now it is about learning how to carry on exploiting his weaknesses even when he starts changing the way he is playing. I can take confidence from the fact that I can compete at that level but I need to make sure I can hold out when he starts changing his game and I think with more training I can do that.

 “After Slovenia we had a training camp in Slovakia to prepare for the World Team Championships and unfortunately I started to have a problem with my lower back. I did as much rehab as I could and I was stretching every day, working in the pool and seeing my physio but I couldn’t rotate and I wasn’t physically able to play in the tournament. It was frustrating but so many things can happen in competitions that can frustrate you so you need to learn to get on with it and make the best out of what you have.

 “I’m now preparing for the German Open and training really hard again. I’ve got the all-clear from my physio to get back in the training hall and I’m really going to push on now and work my hardest for Germany. It is usually a great competition and a strong field so I’ll take each match as it comes and do my absolute best to get the results.”

“I always enjoy playing the British Para Table Tennis Nationals and it is really nice to see the standard going up each year. There is strong competition in men’s class 8 among the British squad and I played Billy (Shilton) in the semi-final and then Aaron (McKibbin) in the final and they are both great players. I love the rivalry and the fact that we push each other and are improving together as a team.

Ross Wilson BPTT Nationals Atrium 2“I won the Open title as well for the second time, beating the class 10 champion Kim Daybell in the final. Kim beat me in the final last year so we’ve had a few jokes in training but it is all good fun and I’m really happy to be National champion again.

“I’m training more on the table now and less in the gym and results like this show that it is working so that is good for me to know that I am doing the right things in training that are helping me get the results. I’m really enjoying being back in the training hall with the team and we are hoping for some good results in the Slovenia Open next week. Slovenia is always a tough tournament and it will be nice to see what the standard is like. I am looking forward to getting out there, giving it my best and hopefully coming away with a medal.”

Ross Wilson Vejle 2015 11“The Lignano Master Open in Italy last week was my first international since Rio and it gave me a chance to compare where I am at the moment with the rest of the top players in the world. It was really nice to be competing again and good to know that I can come back from Rio and keep a similar amount of motivation. It was good to get a win against the Belgian player Marc Ledoux as he is a good player and was playing really well so that was a good test for me. I won all my group matches and got through to last 16 where I lost to a French player. He is an awkward player but I didn’t play as well as I could have done. I just let him take over and didn’t go in with a good game plan.

“I’ve taken the loss as a positive and more motivation for training so I think the loss will have done me good. The standard of Para table tennis is so high now and anyone you play in the top 20 or 30 in the world can challenge you.

Ross at Laleham Gap School“When I came back from Italy I had a couple of days off from training so I went home to Kent and took the opportunity to visit Laleham Gap Primary and Secondary School near Margate. It is a lovely school and it was nice to see them getting support from Sport England to bring table tennis into the school. It was nice to see so many children taking part and enjoying the sport.

“I think it is incredibly important to do things like that. When I was growing up I looked up to people who came to my club or school and inspired me to take up sport. I hope that I can do something similar for those children and I hope that they have fun doing it as well.

“It’s back to training now. I’ll be changing my training programme so I can spend longer on the table and less time in the gym and I hope that it can have a positive effect on my performance which will help me to have better results in my next international competitions in Slovenia and Slovakia in May.”

“Although I was disappointed with my results in the singles competition I think overall that Rio 2016 was a success for me. I wasn’t the best prepared I could be because of the injuries I had going in to the Games so to come away with a medal was just incredible and to do it with the boys again was amazing. Looking back now I know where I could have done better and know how I can do better in the future and obviously that experience will make me a better player and benefit me going in to the next Paralympic Games. Taking a medal was good for my confidence but at the end of the day I want to get to Tokyo and do even better – I want to go for gold. That is my aim now for the next four years.

Ross Wilson in corner with Greg“Injuries are a part of sport – any elite athlete will tell you that. I’ve probably suffered with injuries more than most so I’ve had to learn about my own body and how it works. Now I know how I can manage myself better so it is about pushing my body and seeing what my boundaries are again leading up to Tokyo.

“I took January off and spent a month in Australia which was amazing.  It was really important that I had a break as during all my injury problems it was really psychologically difficult to maintain a good level when I couldn’t play that much. So to get a break before the next four years was vital. Now that I have done that I want to play more than ever and can’t wait to get back into it again.

“I’ve been back in training since the beginning of February and it is going really well. Obviously it is the beginning of the season and I have just been getting back into things and starting to test myself a bit again but I’m really enjoying it. At the end of the month I’m going to Italy for the Lignano Master Open which will be my first competition since Rio. I’m not really going into Italy with high expectations – it is more a case of seeing where I am at the moment compared to the other players in the world but if I can do well and take a medal then I would be over the moon.”

Follow Ross’s results in Italy on Twitter @Rosswilsontt