Aruna Quadri has been leading TTC RhönSprudel Maberzell Fulda in the Table Tennis Bundesliga (TTBL) and the 32-year-old is yet to find his feet in the league and the Nigerian promises that with the return of the spectators, he hopes to raise his game. The Nigerian will compete in the ITTF Restart Tournaments next month and he promises to be a good ambassador.
You will travel to China to play a World Cup tournament (November 13-15 in Weihai) and the ITTF finals (November 19-22 in Zheng). What are your goals?
My goals are always the same: I want to improve my performance and be a good ambassador for my country, my sponsors and my club.
The Olympic Games in Tokyo, which have been postponed by a year, are on the agenda for the coming year. That would be her third. Do you believe in an event?
In the current situation, hardly anything can be planned. Of course, the Olympic Games are something special. But health and safety come first.
You are 32 years old. How long do you want to continue practicing your sport as a professional?
I hope for a few more years. I will continue to play table tennis as long as my body allows it and my performance is good.
Why do you find it so difficult against opponents who are far behind you in the world rankings?
It is still very difficult for me to adapt to the level of play in Germany. But I firmly believe that I will be able to do that very soon. The Bundesliga is really strong and challenging. I think the chance of winning is always around 50:50. One shortcoming was certainly having to play some games without spectators, like in Bad Königshofen and Düsseldorf. That is not satisfactory for me; the morale was not the same as in an audience game. Spectators are very important to me, which is an additional incentive for me.
Is there a big difference between Bundesliga games and international tournaments?
The Bundesliga and international tournaments are very similar. The level of play is very high here.
Your weapon is the forehand. Your weak point is the backhand. The opponents use this consistently. How can you solve the dilemma?
I am working very hard to become even more variable and I am confident that I am on the right track. I’m looking forward to doing my best for the team.
They stayed in Maberzell for a few weeks and trained in Fulda, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf. How do you like it in Germany?
Germany is a beautiful country with nice people. I enjoy my stay in Fulda very much.
You are Nigerian, have a Portuguese passport and live in Lisbon with your family. What do you feel like?
For me, Portugal is my second home, this is where I like to live. But Nigeria is my home. At the end of the season we go on vacation there and visit relatives and friends.
As a result of your assignments in the Bundesliga, you are abroad more often than before. Do you miss your family?
I am a family person and always enjoy being with my wife and children. When I’m out and about, I keep in touch with them every day via the Internet. Even when I’m in Lisbon, the focus is on training. Table tennis is my job. It is very important to me that I can take good care of my family through my work.
In the fight to stay in the league, the two games on November 27th against promoted Bad Homburg and on December 4th in Grenzau are immensely important. How big is the pressure?
We’re professionals and we’re under pressure in every match – especially in both games, of course, because we urgently need the points.
Are you worried that you might not be able to stay up?
Naturally. But I think we will improve from game to game and we have even better days ahead of us. Hopefully there will be a happy ending for us.
Coronavirus turns life upside down – sport is no exception. With what you know today, would you have decided to join the table tennis Bundesliga again?
In any case. It was always my dream to play in the Bundesliga. I am very happy and satisfied that Maberzell gave me the opportunity. And I will do everything I can not to disappoint the club and the spectators