Q&A with Sathiyan Gnanasekaran
July 8, 2019
Sathiyan Gnanasekaran will bring his unique brand of table tennis to the 2019 Australian Open. (Photo: ITTF World)
Sathiyan Gnanasekaran is heading into the 2019 Australian Open with big goals. Currently ranked 24 in the World, Sathiyan is India’s highest-ranked player and will be looking to improve on his past performances and perhaps even take a medal away from the traditional table tennis powerhouses in Geelong. We sat down with Sathiyan before competition started and asked him some hard-hitting questions.
When and where did you first start playing table tennis?
I started playing at the age of 5 in my hometown of Chennai
Why did you start playing table tennis?
I was a really hyperactive and naughty child at home and my mum wanted me and my sister to get out of the house and play some sports. A table tennis academy just happened to open near to my house which was very lucky. It could’ve been any other sport.
What’s your best moment on the table tennis court?
My best moments on the court will have to be when I won the winning point against Kenta Matsudaira in the quarter-finals for the teams against Japan at the 2018 Asian Games and securing a bronze medal in the process. We made history that day, it was the first time in 60 years that India had won a medal in the table tennis at the Asian Games
I would also pick winning the 2016 Belgian Open as one of my top moments. It was my first ITTF Pro Tour win and I was an underdog the whole tournament, so that title is also very close to my heart.
Well, it’ll have to be the Australian Open. I love the city and also I’ve played really well at the past few Opens.
What makes table tennis special to you?
I really love the challenges and how dynamic the game is. Every player is so different and there are always so many things going on in a match. All the different spins really fascinate me. I’m always thinking and every match is different. I feel very passionate and happy whenever I play.
Multi-ball or single ball?
Favourite training partner?
I enjoy playing with everyone so it’s hard to pick one but I prefer to train with my coach Mr Raman. I love playing with him.
Favourite Table Tennis player?
Toughest opponent/hardest match?
Ma Long and Xu Xin
Serve or receive the first point of the match?
Receive, so I can serve at 9-9.
What is special about table tennis in India?
It’s really picking up now. Many people play table tennis at least for leisure but now there are many more people taking up the sport professionally. I think the performance in Commonwealth Games and the international circuit has really made a big impact on the sport. The Indian league, the federation, the medals at international events and many other things are coming together now and making the sport much bigger.
If you weren’t a table tennis player what would you be?
I’m actually an engineer by profession. I’m from an academic family so I am a qualified software engineer. I started performing very well when I started engineering so I started to focus more on professional table tennis but I still finished my course. So, I would’ve probably become a software engineer if I didn’t play table tennis.
Looking forward to the most in Australia?
I’ve always been playing very well in Australia, I reached the round of 16 in the last two Opens. So I want to make the performance better this year and try to make quarter-finals. I know it’s a pretty tough tournament but Australia has always been good to me and I’ve been really lucky here so I would love to go to quarterfinals.
Koalas or kangaroos?
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to watch Sathiyan in action! Get your tickets here.